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Mari Literary Language Day celebrated festively

Mari Literary Language Day, celebrated on 10 December, has been a national holiday of the Republic of Mari El since 1998.

mari keele päev

The proposal to celebrate the Mari literary language was made by Yuri Anduganov, a student of Academician Paul Ariste, who holds a PhD from the University of Tartu.

On 10 December 1775, the first grammar of the Mari language was published by the St Petersburg Academy of Sciences, and its author is considered to be the Archbishop of Kazan, Veniamin Putsek-Grigorovich (1706-1785). A few poems and words in Mari had been published earlier, and the Mari have been able to communicate information by means of their signs (tamgas) since ancient times.

This year, the Literary Language Day was celebrated with a number of events: on 8 December, the Mari State University and the National Library organised an international lecture ‘Let’s write correctly in Mari’. The lecture was also attended by the Mari communities of Tallinn and Tartu, who gathered at the Estonian National Museum on 8 December.

The Institute of Mari Language, Literature and History hosted a scientific-practical conference on ‘Current problems of modern comparative literature’. At the same time, a round table ‘Mari society: yesterday, today, tomorrow’ was organised, dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the Mari Congress. The main discussion was on the first Mari social organisation, Kugu sorta – the Great Candle, as well as on the cooperation of social organisations with the authorities and the future perspectives of the youth movement.

The main events, however, took place on 10 December at the Mari National Theatre, where two books were presented, ‘The Silver People’ by Leonid Yandakov and ‘Inspiration’ by Yuri Grigoryev. Mari poetry lovers were able to put their poetry skills to the test, as well as discover the work of young contemporary Mari poets. Those interested in Mari language and literature were offered the chance to take part in the quiz Munlo – ‘The Smart’. Mari language teachers, on the other hand, introduced the use of modern information technologies in the teaching of the Mari language and held a class ‘Let’s speak Mari’. A large book exhibition on the history of Mari educational literature was on display in the theatre lobby.

The culmination of the Mari Literary Language Day was the concert ‘Our mother tongue can be felt in every melody.’ On the occasion of Mari Literary Language Day, Deputy Head of State Mikhail Vasyutin greeted the gathering on behalf of the Head of State of the Republic of Mari El, noting that the government is working to develop the Mari language. Every year, scientific, educational and cultural events are organised, and this year most of them were dedicated to the 125th and 135th birth anniversaries, respectively, of Mari literary classics Yakov Shketan-Mayorov and Sergei Chavain.

On the occasion of the anniversary, teachers of Mari language and literature were awarded with various state prizes, as well as the winners of the Mari language recital and the best translators of Sergei Rachmaninoff‘s romance ‘Lilacs’ into Mari.