May 9th is Europe Day. Did you know? The day is intended to be an annual celebration of peace and unity in Europe. And to make matters complicated (beginning to sound more European now), there are two separate Europe Days: one on 5th May for the Council of Europe, and 9th May for the European Union (EU). This latter day is also called Schuman Day, because it was on the 9th May that French foreign minister Robert Schuman made his historical declaration which created the European Coal and Steel Community, the basis of today’s EU. (To cause further confusion, there’s also European flag day on 29th September.)

So the whole thing is designed to foster unity among Europeans. How exactly I’m not sure. Limousin Region has issued a magazine about it but there’s not a great deal in it, apart from a competition to win an iPad which I shall have a go at. And the logo is rather good too.


The Limousin Europe Day logo

A few events are happening in Limoges. Not much in Creuse, no surprise there sadly, just an exhibition which seems a bit of a cop out to my mind! It seems to be something of a self-congratulatory day for a handful of politicians. Rather a wasted opportunity.

So here are five ways to celebrate Europe Day chez vous.

  1. Have something ‘foreign’ for breakfast – i.e. French croissants (if you don’t live in France, of course), English bacon and egg if you don’t live in the UK, Irish soda bread, Spanish magdalenas, Dutch Ontbijtkoek etc.
  2. Learn how to say ‘hello’ in at least three European languages. Find them here.
  3. Actually sit down and look at a map of the EU to see where the 27 member states are. I have to confess I’m hazy about a few of them.
  4. Write a catchphrase about or description of Europe using six words starting with the letters that spell the word, but not necessarily in that order. My best attempt is: Everyone undervalues each other’s regional priorities.
  5. Find out who your European Member of Parliament is and send them a Happy Europe Day email!

Personally I would nominate the Eurovision Song Contest (I know, I’m obsessed with it!) to take the place of Europe Day. Much more fun and uniting.

Daily snippets for 9th May:

Today’s Saint: St Pacôme of Egypt, who founded the first monastery

Famous French person born this day: in 1968, Marie-José Pérec, Olympic athlete

Famous French person who died this day: Jean-Baptiste Vaquette de Gribeauval in 1789, artillery office and engineer who revolutionised French cannons

Today’s word: un drapeau – flag

Today’s dicton: Brouillard de mai, chaleur de juin, aménent la moisson à point – A foggy May and a warm June bring about the harvest at just the right time.