World Poetry Day

Ijeoma Asuoha
May 02, 2024 By Ijeoma Asuoha
Originally Published on Mar 20, 2024
Edited by Joan Agie
Fact-checked by Adekunle Olanrewaju Jason
A serene outdoor scene featuring an open book, a quill, and paper on a wooden table, with faint outlines of global landmarks in the background.

March 21, 2024

Location: Worldwide

World Poetry Day goes beyond simply marking a date; it serves as a recognition of an art form that captures humanity and shared values. This global event is about more than just appreciating poetry in all its forms; it's also about providing a platform for poetic voices that can bridge different cultures and languages.

On World Poetry Day, the aim is to support language diversity and protect languages that are in danger through the unique perspective of poetry. Celebrating poetic traditions, both old and new, honor celebrated poets who have influenced human thoughts and emotions all over the world.

Poetry readings and social media kits promote participation from the community, often including cultural groups and schools to create a space for education and learning through this valued art form.

Where is World Poetry Day celebrated?

Collage of iconic global landmarks like the Eiffel Tower, Great Wall of China, and Statue of Liberty.

World Poetry Day is celebrated around the world, with UN member countries and many cities globally taking part. UNESCO Creative Cities of Literature, such as Granada, Barcelona, Baghdad, Bucheon, Heidelberg, Ljubljana, Krakow, Lviv, Norwich, Milan, Nottingham, Reykjavík, Óbidos, Tartu, and Ulyanovsk, join in the celebrations by organizing events at the same time.

Who is World Poetry Day celebrated by?

World Poetry Day is celebrated by UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization). It is also celebrated by schools, organizations, libraries, publishers, and poetry enthusiasts around the world.

When did World Poetry Day first start?

A symbolic sunrise over a horizon with silhouettes of poetry elements like scrolls, inkwells, and quills, symbolizing the dawn of World Poetry Day.

World Poetry Day started on March 21, 1999, following a decision by UNESCO at its 30th General Conference in Paris in 1999. The choice was aimed at fostering the reading, writing, publishing, and teaching of poetry globally.

Who started World Poetry Day?

World Poetry Day was initiated by UNESCO. The organization set March 21 as World Poetry Day to encourage linguistic diversity through poetry and to offer new recognition to poetry movements at the national, regional, and international levels.

History And Timeline

A timeline depicted with symbols representing the evolution of poetry, including a stone tablet, parchment scroll, and an open book with a feather quill.

Discover the milestones that have marked World Poetry Day since its inception and see how it has evolved to become a cherished global event.

Timeline Item 1

Date: 1999

Heading: UNESCO Declaration

Summary: It was officially established during UNESCO's 30th General Conference in Paris, proposing a dedicated day to celebrate and support poetic expression worldwide.

Timeline Item 2

Date: March 21, 2000

Heading: First Official Celebration

Summary: The first official World Poetry Day took place on March 21, 2000, with various nations participating in readings and activities to honor poets and poetry.

Timeline Item 3

Date: Early 2000s

Heading: Cultural Exchange

Summary: Poetry movements began using World Poetry Day to promote linguistic and cultural exchange, highlighting the importance of preserving endangered languages through verse.

Timeline Item 4

Date: 2001

Heading: Educational Initiatives Launch

Summary: Schools and libraries worldwide began incorporating special poetry lessons and readings into their curriculum to observe World Poetry Day.

Timeline Item 5

Date: 2005

Heading: Digital Celebrations Emerge

Summary: Online forums and social media platforms initiated digital poetry contests and encouraged users to share their own verses, expanding the event’s reach.

Timeline Item 6

Date: 2010

Heading: Poetry In Public Spaces

Summary: Public transportation systems in major cities started displaying poems on trains and buses, connecting commuters with poetry.

Timeline Item 7

Date: 2015

Heading: Multilingual Recitals

Summary: Poetry readings featuring multiple languages emphasized UNESCO's goal of linguistic diversity and cultural representation.

Timeline Item 8

Date: 2018

Heading: Record-Breaking Events

Summary: A world record was set for the largest poetry reading event, highlighting the universal appeal and accessibility of poetry.

Timeline Item 9

Date: Annually on March 21

Heading: Global Participation Increases

Summary: Each year, participation in World Poetry Day grew, with countries around the world organizing unique events, and poetic competitions, and engaging the public with performances.

Timeline Item 10

Date: Ongoing

Heading: Digital Outreach Expands

Summary: The advent of social media and digital resources online further spread awareness, allowing individuals to partake in and celebrate World Poetry Day virtually.

Traditions And Customs

A collage showing diverse people sharing poems in a circle, a hand passing a book, a candlelit reading, and small groups writing together.

Traditions on World Poetry Day include connecting with poetry's spoken roots through recitals and spoken word performances. Poetry readings, which can take place in locations ranging from school auditoriums to public libraries, offer a chance for poets to present their work and for audiences to enjoy the spoken delivery of poems.

World Poetry Day is also celebrated by highlighting the work of poets who use their craft to provide commentary on the state of the world, explore the soul's depth, or simply celebrate the joy in everyday life.

Many people take to social media platforms to share their favorite poems or verses from famous poets, participate in challenges, or create original works related to the day.

Ways To Observe Or Celebrate World Poetry Day

There are several ways to take part in World Poetry Day celebrations. Find local events where poets are sharing their work or organize your own. Involve your community or school and encourage others to bring their favorite poems.

You could also challenge yourself to put pen to paper and compose a poem. It could be a traditional form or free verse, whatever best expresses your thoughts.

Use social media platforms to share your favorite poems or original works. Tag with relevant hashtags like #WorldPoetryDay to join the global conversation.

Also, take the day as an opportunity to discover poems from cultures other than your own. This can be a journey of cultural and linguistic expression.

Purchase poetry books, especially those from independent publishers or poets who self-publish. Share your finds with friends and family to support the artists.

World Poetry Day Facts And Stats

A globe surrounded by symbols of poetry and abstract figures, with faint lines connecting points across the globe.
  • Some countries have their own national poetry days in October, including the United Kingdom which celebrates National Poetry Day on the first Thursday of October, World Poetry Day itself has always been in March since its inception.
  • World Poetry Day, celebrated on March 21, falls on the same date as the International Day of Nowruz, which marks the Persian New Year, a celebration with over 3,000 years of history. This coincidence emphasizes the profound cultural and historical importance of the day, spotlighting the role of poetry in different cultural traditions.
  • A popular activity for World Poetry Day includes poetry readings and performances, where individuals and organizations around the world engage in sharing and listening to poetry. This can happen in various settings, including schools, libraries, cultural institutions, and online platforms.
  • UNESCO encourages the celebration of World Poetry Day in educational settings by providing resources and social media kits to help people learn more about poetry.

World Poetry Day FAQs

What is the essence of World Poetry Day?

At the center of the celebrations, World Poetry Day is a chance to celebrate the tradition of reciting poetry and encourage people to read, write, and teach poetry. It highlights poetry's special power to show the creativity of the human mind and recognize poets who have greatly added to cultural and language expression all over the world.

Why celebrate World Poetry Day?

To celebrate World Poetry Day is to embrace the diversity of language and the poetic expression that comes with it. It's an opportunity to experience cultures and words that might otherwise remain unheard.

By highlighting poetry's place in promoting linguistic expression and combating linguistic uniformity, World Poetry Day acts as an important reminder to preserve the global mosaic of language and culture.

International poetry movements collaborate, providing other resources such as workshop materials or social media kits to help spread the word and engage wider audiences.

How is poetry used as a teaching and reflective tool?

Poetry is prevalent in teaching environments where its rhythmic and metaphorical nature helps children grasp language complexities and engage in cultural learning. In a mindful and reflective state, both teachers and students discover the rich layers of meaning within the simple structure of a three-line poem or the flexible rules of free verse poetry.

How do schools participate in World Poetry Day?

Schools often participate by organizing poetry workshops, reading sessions, and writing competitions. Teachers use this day to introduce students to the works of poets from around the world, thereby supporting linguistic diversity and cultural understanding.

Why is poetry important to culture?

Poetry is important because it provides a means of cultural and linguistic expression that is deeply tied to human life and history. It captures the essence of a society's ethics, beliefs, and issues, serving as a means of teaching.

Can anyone be a poet on World Poetry Day?

Absolutely! World Poetry Day is for everyone, from seasoned poets to those who've never written a verse in their lives. It's the perfect day to try your hand at poetry, share your creations, and enjoy the poetic works of others.

Can I start a poetry reading event in my community for World Poetry Day?

Definitely! World Poetry Day is the perfect occasion to bring people together over the love of poetry. You can organize an event at a local café, library, or even online. Invite local poets, encourage attendees to share their works, and create a welcoming space for poetic expression.

How can I encourage my children or students to participate in World Poetry Day?

Encourage them to write their own poems, read poetry together, or participate in school or community poetry events. Poetry competitions and creative writing prompts are also great ways to get young people excited about poetry.

What are some events that take place during World Poetry Day?

Countries around the world organize poetry readings and performances, allowing poets to present their creations to audiences. These gatherings often highlight poets from various backgrounds, reflecting the rich cultural diversity found within poetry.

Workshops tailored for both kids and adults aim to encourage the craft, reading, and teaching of poetry. These sessions focus on creative expression, exploring poetic styles, and cultivating an appreciation for poetry.

Competitions and contests also provide poets with the opportunity to share their works, frequently centered on a particular theme. For instance, the 2023 Sustainability Poetry Contest in North America emphasizes the significance of sustainability through the medium of poetry.

Events also explore the intersection between poetry and other art forms such as theatre, dance, music, and painting, encouraging a cross-dialogue among different artistic expressions.

Follow On Social Media

Twitter Hashtag: #WorldPoetryDay #poet #poetrycommunity #poetrylovers #poets #POEMS #writers

Instagram Hashtag: #WorldPoetryDay#poetrycommunity #poetry #poem #poet #poets #poetryforthepeople #poetrybooks

When is World Poetry Day celebrated?

Here are the dates for World Poetry Day from 2024 to 2028 for better planning and participation:

03/21/2024, Thursday

03/21/2025, Friday

03/21/2026, Satuurday

03/21/2027, Sunday

03/21/2028, Tuesday

World Poetry Day showcases the different languages and cultures, celebrating poetry in both its written and spoken forms. It connects individuals to the hearts and minds of poets from various backgrounds, using words to unite them in the universal experiences of life.

This day focuses on making poetry more accessible to all, ensuring it continues to be an essential element of cultural and educational systems.

We Want Your Photos!
We Want Your Photos!

We Want Your Photos!

Do you have a photo you are happy to share that would improve this article?
Email your photos

More for You


See All

Written by Ijeoma Asuoha

Bachelor of Science in Mathematics & Computer Science

Ijeoma Asuoha picture

Ijeoma AsuohaBachelor of Science in Mathematics & Computer Science

Ijeoma is a passionate mathematics and computer science graduate with a penchant for problem-solving and education. Growing up in a large family, she developed a strong sense of responsibility and a love for nurturing young minds. Driven by her natural inclination, Ijeoma often found herself tutoring and mentoring her little cousins and nephews, and She discovered a deep satisfaction in witnessing their growth. Her interactions with her family members sparked a desire to pursue a career where she could combine her technical expertise with her passion for education. Inspired by Kidadl's mission to empower young learners through engaging content, Ijeoma is eager to contribute her skills and knowledge to the team. With her background in mathematics and computer science, coupled with her nurturing nature and teaching experience, she aspires to create impactful educational resources that spark curiosity and inspire learning in children worldwide.

Read full bio >
Fact-checked by Adekunle Olanrewaju Jason

Bachelor of Science specializing in Mass Communication.

Adekunle Olanrewaju Jason picture

Adekunle Olanrewaju JasonBachelor of Science specializing in Mass Communication.

With over 3+ years of professional experience, Olanrewaju is a certified SEO Specialist and Content Writer. He holds a BSc in Mass Communication from the University of Lagos. Throughout his dynamic career, Olanrewaju has successfully taken on various roles with startups and established organizations. He has served as a Technical Writer, Blogger, SEO Specialist, Social Media Manager, and Digital Marketing Manager. Known for his hardworking nature and insightful approach, Olanrewaju is dedicated to continuous learning and improvement.
Read full bio >