Every year on May 9th, Europe Day recognizes the diversity of the world’s 2nd smallest continent. It’s also a day that the European Union (EU) celebrates peace and unity in Europe.
Europe is divided into the southern, northern, eastern, and western hemispheres. According to the United Nations, there are currently 44 countries in Europe. Twenty-seven of these countries are part of the EU. The largest and most populous country in Europe is Russia. There are nearly 146 million people in Russia. The next most populous country is Germany with nearly 84 million people. Europe is also comprised of four dependencies or territories. These include the Channel Islands, Isle of Man, Faeroe Islands, and Gibraltar.
While the most commonly spoke language in Europe is English, Europeans speak 200 languages there. Of these languages, 24 of them are official. Other widely spoken languages include French, German, Spanish, and Russian. More than half of all Europeans are bilingual and many Europeans speak 3 languages. About 10% of Europeans speak four languages.
Important historical events in Europe include:
- The Renaissance
- Colonialism and Imperialism
- The Protestant Reformation
- The Enlightenment
- French Revolution
- Industrial Revolution
- The Russian Revolutions
Europe is also where World War I and World War II began and ended. Today, Europe is known for its beautiful cities, cultural diversity, delicious food and wine, and romantic destinations.
HOW TO OBSERVE EUROPE DAY
Europeans all across the continent celebrate the day with a variety of events. These events include parades, concerts, debates, art exhibits, and more. You don’t have to live in Europe to celebrate this day, either. Here are some ways you can participate:
- Have a contest with friends or family to see who can name the most countries in Europe.
- Learn the history of famous European landmarks including the Eiffel Tower, the Colosseum, The Louvre, the Sistine Chapel, and the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
- Read some works by famous European authors such as Leo Tolstoy, Victor Hugo, the Brothers Grimm, and C.S. Lewis.
- Watch movies that take place in European countries like The Sound of Music, Notting Hill, Pride and Prejudice, French Kiss, and Mamma Mia.
- Dive into foreign-language films from Europe, too.
Spread awareness for the day by sharing #EuropeDay on social media.
EUROPE DAY HISTORY
In 1985, the European Communities, which later changed to the EU, introduced Europe Day. The date of May 9th commemorates the Schuman Declaration, given in 1950. French foreign minister, Robert Schuman, gave the declaration. He proposed to unite the French and West German coal and steel industries. This led to the creation of the European Coal and Steel Community, which became the first European Community. Since the formation of the EU in 1993, Europe Day celebrations have increased significantly. In some countries, the day is an official public holiday.