Portuguese American Journal

May 5th: World Portuguese Language Day celebrated in 50 countries – Manhattan, NY

The World Portuguese Language Day is being celebrated on May 5th in about 50 countries, with cultural activities worldwide.

In the United States, May 5th will be officially celebrated in New York, in a joint initiative between Portugal and Brazil.

The event will take place at the Manhattan facilities of the Consulate General of Brazil, with the participation of representatives of all Portuguese-speaking African countries.

With more than 260 million speakers worldwide, Portuguese ranks fifth among world languages in number of native speakers, distributed in all continents.

Portuguese is projected to be spoken in 2050 by about 400 million, and in 2100 by more than 500 million people, when the population of Angola will increase to more than 170 million and Mozambique to more than 130 million people.

The United States is home to about 1.3 million people of Portuguese heritage, with and estimated 693,000 native speakers of Portuguese. In New England, Portuguese is the third most widely spoken language after English and Spanish.

Portuguese is also the fifth most used language on the Internet and is the fourth most used on Facebook.

Spoken by 3.7% of the world population, Portuguese is the official language of the 9 member countries of the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP) created in 1996, representing the community of nations where Portuguese is the official language, which includes Portugal, Brazil, Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, São Tomé and Príncipe and East Timor.

Brazil, which has a population of over 207 million, is the largest Portuguese-speaking nation. Portuguese is also spoken in the territory of Macau in China. Someone who speaks Portuguese is called a Lusophone.

The date of May 5th was officially established in 2009 as ‘World Portuguese Language Day’ by the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP) – an intergovernmental organization that has been in official partnership with UNESCO since 2000, and brings together peoples with the Portuguese language as one of the foundations of their specific identity – to celebrate the Portuguese language and Lusophone cultures, with the mission of bringing together the communities and countries around the world where Portuguese is spoken.

In 2019, the 40th session of UNESCO’s General Conference officially proclaimed May 5th, of each year, as “World Portuguese Language Day” as a major language of international communication, as well as a global language of science, culture, economics, and diplomacy,

The Portuguese language, considered the language of the first wave of globalization, is recognized today as a working language by the European Union, the Mercosul  (Southern Common Market), the African Union, the Organization of Ibero-American States, and the Organization of American States, among other world organizations.

As part of the celebrations of World Portuguese Language Day 2022,  Portugal’s School Libraries Network will affirm the Portuguese language as a global platform for learning and understanding between students and schools from different regions, countries and cultures where Portuguese is spoken and taught.

The Portuguese School Libraries Network (Rede de Libraries Escolares) was launched in 1996 by the Ministries of Education and Culture with the aim of creating libraries in all public schools at every level.



Founded in 1984, in print, the Portuguese-American Journal (PAJ) is an interactive news blog dedicated to the Portuguese-American heritage with the purpose of informing and offering an insight into the Portuguese-American experience.

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