A language festival (Esperanto: Lingva Festivalo) is a cultural and educational event held by Esperanto organizations in different countries of the world. The purpose of language festivals is to provide information about as many different languages of the world as possible to people who are interested in languages and show how great is the variety of languages in the world. Language festivals also try to demonstrate that all languages in the world are equally important and valuable and that there should be no "major" and "minor" languages, which are ideas broadly propagandized by Esperantists.
The first language festival was held in 1995 by an American Esperantist, Dennis Keefe, in Tours, France. The following year, a festival organized in a similar way was held in Cheboksary, Russia. The Cheboksary Language Festival has since been the largest-scale language festival in Russia.
Since then, language festivals have been held in various countries of the world, such as Finland, France, Russia, Slovakia, Sweden, Ukraine, United States, Venezuela and other countries. In 2008, Dennis Keefe organized a language festival at Nanjing University, China.
Language presentations and other events
Languages are presented at 30 or 40 minute introductory lessons. The presenter therein provides general information about this language, and often teaches the visitors to say a few simple phrases and sometimes to read and write in the language. There are usually several language lessons given at the same time (the so-called "language parallels"), so that each visitor has to choose which presentation he would like to visit this time. Apart from language lessons, language festivals usually include introductory lectures on subjects related to languages, as well as so-called "language clubs", which are places where visitors can speak to one another in a certain language, listen to music and see films in this language, etc. Also, language festivals often include language concerts where songs in different languages are performed.
The presenters of the festival are usually language enthusiasts who agree to present one or more languages that they know without receiving any remuneration. However, in order to cover the expenses of holding the festival, the organizers usually introduce an entrance fee and also ask visitors to donate if they like.