Universal Day of Culture
The Universal Day of Culture under the Banner of Peace, known also as the World Day of Culture, is an observance held annually on April 15 in many countries around the World to promote the protection of culture, the Roerich Pact and the Banner of Peace.
The Universal Day of Culture was proposed by the author of the Roerich Pact - the Russian artist Nicholas Roerich. In several articles and letters, written in 1931-1935, he spoke about the Universal Day of Culture. In his "Greetings to the Bruges conference in 1931" Roerich defined the Universal Day of Culture as a day which "shall be consecrated to the full appreciation of all national and universal treasures of culture". According to Roerich, the celebrations had to take place in all schools and educational institutions. In 1933, in his "Prayer for Peace and Culture" Roerich includes also the churches into this list and specifies that on this day "the world will be reminded of the true treasures of humanity, of creative heroic enthusiasm, of improvement and enhancement of life." On April 15, 1935, when the Roerich Pact was signed in Washington, Roerich mentioned this date as "memorable day" and "significant date", which later led to consideration of April 15 as the Universal Day of Culture.
The International Movement for the affirmation of April 15 as Universal Day of Culture (IMAUDC) was established in December 2008 by NGOs from Cuba, Italy, Lithuania, Latvia, Russia and Spain. As of 2014, 40 organizations from 14 countries and 25000 individuals participate in the Movement.
Lithuania is the first country in which the Universal Day of Culture is celebrated on government level since 2006. On November 24, 2007 the 26th session of the Baltic Assembly adopted a Resolution, initiated by Lithuania, in which the Assembly proposed to the governments of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia to proclaim April 15 as Day of Culture of the Baltic states. At the celebrations in 2009 the minister of defense of Lithuania Rasa Juknevičienė, the minister of culture Remigijus Vilkaitis, ambassador of Day of Culture at Council of the Commission about the Culture of the Union of the Baltic Cities Aukse Narvilene appeared with salutatory addresses. In her address to the Banner of Peace hoisting ceremony to mark the Universal Day of Culture in 2011 the Speaker of Seimas of Lithuania Mrs. Irena Degutienė said that this is a day, on which "people are exchanging ideas on the fundamental values, raising and addressing fundamental questions, and the word "culture" is uttered more often than usual." She specified culture "not only as the artistic and creative heritage passed on from generation to generation, but also as our level of communication, capacity of building bridges of tolerance, and the level of trust in others who have different views and profess different faith."
In 2012, during Universal Day of Culture celebrations, three Lithuanian towns - Dubingiai, Rietavas and Ylakiai - were proclaimed as towns of peace, where priority of culture is implemented in all aspects of public life.
In Russia the Universal Day of Culture is supported by numerous institutions and organizations, including the Moscow State University of Geodesy and Cartography, the Moscow State University of Culture and Arts, The Nicholas Roerich Estate Museum in Izvara, The Union of Artists of Russia, local branches of the International League for the Protection of Culture, etc. Celebrations are held annually in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Ekaterinburg, Irkutsk and Berezniki. Notable Russian politicians and public figures are members of the Council of the International Movement. The members of the Russian Duma Elena Drapeko and Nikolay Rastorguyev, and the cosmonaut Aleksandr Balandin are among them. The Association of Space Explorers in Russia also supported the Universal Day of Culture.
In Brazil the celebrations are organized annually by Brazilian Roerich Institute, which was established in 1999. On April 15, 2010, the 75th anniversary of the Roerich Pact, the panel “Protection and Preservation of natural treasures: the challenges to the servers of culture” was held in Sao Paulo. The Banner of Peace has been hoisted as well.
In Canada the Universal Day of Culture is celebrated in Edmonton, Alberta since 2012. They are organized by the Alberta Banner of Peace Association, with the participation of Alberta Interscience Association and Edmonton Theosophical Society in different years.
April 15 is also the birthday of Leonardo da Vinci.
- Peace Flag raised in front of the Ministry of National Defence. News of the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Lithuania. April 14, 2009.
- Peter Barenboim, Naeem Sidiqi. “Bruges, the Bridge between Civilizations. To the 75th Anniversary of the Roerich Pact”, Letny Sad, Grid Belgium, 2010. P. 37-38
- N. Roerich. Prayer for Peace and Culture. Indian Magazine, September 1933.
- N. Roerich. The Banner. Meditation Monthly International, December 2010/January 2011 Vol. XXVIII No. 2.
- Summary prepared by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in accordance with paragraph 5 of the annex to Human Rights Council resolution 16/21. United Nations General Assembly, 11 January 2013.
- Participants of the International Movement for the affirmation of the Universal Day of Culture under the Banner of Peace.
- Tomas Petryla. LEU veikia fotografijų paroda „Pasaulio kultūros dienos ištakos ir dabartis“. BNS Spaudos centras. 2014-11-18.
- Resolution on the Baltic states' Culture Day. November 24, 2007.
- The Day of Culture celebration. Lithuania.
- Address of Mrs Irena Degutienė, Speaker of Seimas, at the Banner of Peace Hoisting Ceremony to Mark the Universal Day of Culture
- Council of the International Movement for the affirmation of the Universal Day of Culture under the Banner of Peace
- Letter from the Chair of the Association of Space Explorers V. Savinikh in support of the Universal Day of Culture. October 14, 2009.
- The Brazilian Roerich Institute. Activities in 2010
- Отбелязване на Световния ден на културата в гр. Едмънтън, Канада (Celebration of the Universal Day of Culture in Edmonton, Canada) Palitra, IV-2012/I-2013 (48-49). ISSN 1314-5002.
- The International Movement for the affirmation of April 15 as Universal Day of Culture - official site.
- Brazilian Roerich Institute - official site.
- Alberta Banner of Peace Association - official page.