Georgia celebrates Georgian Language Day

The monument in Dedaena Park recognises the mass protests against the attempt by the Soviet authorities to revoke the official status of the Georgian language in 1978. Photo: RFE/RL, 14 Apr 2018 - 12:10, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgians all over the country are celebrating Georgian Language Day today to mark an event in 1978 when around 100,000 citizens protested to protect the status of Georgian as the official state language.

The annual date marks the events of April 14, 1978, when Soviet authorities retracted their decision to revoke the official status of the Georgian language following a mass demonstration in Georgia's capital of Tbilisi. 

The place where the mass demonstration was held is now named Dedaena Park [Geo. Mother tongue park] and hosts annual celebration events. This year, celebrations will be held in Dedaena Park from 12 - 9 p.m. 

According to Tbilisi City Hall, events will include different exhibition spaces, a book fair, presentations and concerts throughout the day. Visitors will be invited to participate in the illustration of a copy of an edition of a Georgian alphabet primer issued in 1920, also called ‘Dedaena’. 

"We are obliged to protect our language. This is why we actively work to ensure that all the signboards around the city are written in Georgian since this has not been not paid enough attention to in recent years”, Tbilisi Mayor Kakha Kaladze said while addressing the public at the event held on the occasion of Georgian Language Day.

Recently Tbilisi City Hall announced a draft law to increase fines for violations of language regulations. Individual business owners posting signs not written in Georgian letters will now be fined 1000 GEL instead of 200, while legal entities will be fined 3000 GEL instead of 300.