Universal Day of Culture

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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. [1]

April 15 is the 105th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 260 days remaining until the end of the year.

The Treaty on the Protection of Artistic and Scientific Institutions and Historic Monuments or Roerich Pact is an inter-American treaty. The most important idea of the Roerich Pact is the legal recognition that the defense of cultural objects is more important than the use or destruction of that culture for military purposes, and the protection of culture always has precedence over any military necessity.

Banner of Peace

The banner of peace is a symbol of the Roerich Pact. This pact is the first international treaty dedicated to the protection of artistic and scientific institutions and historical monuments. It was signed on April 15, 1935. The banner of peace was proposed by Nicholas Roerich for an international pact for the protection of culture values.


Pax Cultura symbol / Banner of Peace Pax cultura.svg
Pax Cultura symbol / 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". [2] According to Roerich, the celebrations had to take place in all schools and educational institutions. [2] 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." [3] On April 15, 1935, when the Roerich Pact was signed in Washington, Roerich mentioned this date as "memorable day" and "significant date", [4] which later led to consideration of April 15 as the Universal Day of Culture.

Nicholas Roerich Russian painter, writer, archaeologist, theosophist, enlightener, philosopher

Nicholas Roerich – known also as Nikolai Konstantinovich Rerikh – was a Russian painter, writer, archaeologist, theosophist, philosopher, and public figure, who in his youth was influenced by a movement in Russian society around the spiritual. He was interested in hypnosis and other spiritual practices and his paintings are said to have hypnotic expression.

International movement

The International Movement for the affirmation of April 15 as Universal Day of Culture (IMAUDC [5] ) 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. [6]

Cuba Country in the Caribbean

Cuba, officially the Republic of Cuba, is a country comprising the island of Cuba as well as Isla de la Juventud and several minor archipelagos. Cuba is located in the northern Caribbean where the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean meet. It is east of the Yucatán Peninsula (Mexico), south of both the U.S. state of Florida and the Bahamas, west of Haiti and north of both Jamaica and the Cayman Islands. Havana is the largest city and capital; other major cities include Santiago de Cuba and Camagüey. The area of the Republic of Cuba is 110,860 square kilometres (42,800 sq mi). The island of Cuba is the largest island in Cuba and in the Caribbean, with an area of 105,006 square kilometres (40,543 sq mi), and the second-most populous after Hispaniola, with over 11 million inhabitants.

Italy republic in Southern Europe

Italy, officially the Italian Republic, is a country in Southern Europe. Located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, Italy shares open land borders with France, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia and the enclaved microstates San Marino and Vatican City. Italy covers an area of 301,340 km2 (116,350 sq mi) and has a largely temperate seasonal and Mediterranean climate. With around 61 million inhabitants, it is the fourth-most populous EU member state and the most populous country in Southern Europe.

Lithuania republic in Northeastern Europe

Lithuania, officially the Republic of Lithuania, is a country in the Baltic region of Europe. Lithuania is considered to be one of the Baltic states. It is situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, to the east of Sweden and Denmark. It is bordered by Latvia to the north, Belarus to the east and south, Poland to the south, and Kaliningrad Oblast to the southwest. Lithuania has an estimated population of 2.8 million people as of 2019, and its capital and largest city is Vilnius. Other major cities are Kaunas and Klaipėda. Lithuanians are Baltic people. The official language, Lithuanian, along with Latvian, is one of only two living languages in the Baltic branch of the Indo-European language family.


Lithuania is the first country in which the Universal Day of Culture is celebrated on government level since 2006. [7] 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. [8] 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. [9] 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." [10] 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." [10]

Baltic Assembly international organization

The Baltic Assembly (BA) is a regional organisation that promotes intergovernmental cooperation between Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. It attempts to find a common position in relation to many international issues, including economic, political and cultural issues. The decisions of the assembly are advisory.

Latvia republic in Northeastern Europe

Latvia, officially the Republic of Latvia, is a country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. Since its independence, Latvia has been referred to as one of the Baltic states. It is bordered by Estonia to the north, Lithuania to the south, Russia to the east, and Belarus to the southeast, and shares a maritime border with Sweden to the west. Latvia has 1,957,200 inhabitants and a territory of 64,589 km2 (24,938 sq mi). The country has a temperate seasonal climate.

Estonia Republic in Northern Europe

Estonia, officially the Republic of Estonia, is a country in Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland with Finland on the other side, to the west by the Baltic Sea with Sweden on the other side, to the south by Latvia (343 km), and to the east by Lake Peipus and Russia (338.6 km). The territory of Estonia consists of a mainland and 2,222 islands in the Baltic Sea, covering a total area of 45,227 km2 (17,462 sq mi), water 2,839 km2 (1,096 sq mi), land area 42,388 km2 (16,366 sq mi), and is influenced by a humid continental climate. The official language of the country, Estonian, is the third most spoken Finno-Ugric language.

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. [7]

Dubingiai Place in Aukštaitija, Lithuania

Dubingiai is a town in Molėtai district in Lithuania. It is situated near Lake Asveja, the longest lake in the country. The town has 208 inhabitants as of 2017.

Rietavas City in Samogitia, Lithuania

Rietavas is a city in Lithuania on the Jūra River. According to the 2001 census it had a population of 3,979. It is the capital of Rietavas municipality.

Ylakiai Town in Klaipėda County, Lithuania

Ylakiai is a small town in Klaipėda County, in northwestern Lithuania. According to the census of 2011, the town has a population of 950 people.


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. [6] 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. [11] The Association of Space Explorers in Russia also supported the Universal Day of Culture. [12]

Moscow Capital city of Russia

Moscow is the capital and most populous city of Russia, with 13.2 million residents within the city limits, 17 million within the urban area and 20 million within the metropolitan area. Moscow is one of Russia's federal cities.

Irkutsk City in eastern Russia

Irkutsk is the administrative center of Irkutsk Oblast, Russia, and one of the largest cities in Siberia.

Berezniki City in Perm Krai, Russia

Berezniki is a city in Perm Krai, Russia, located on the banks of the Kama River, in the Ural Mountains. Population: 156,466 (2010 Census); 173,077 (2002 Census); 201,213 (1989 Census).


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. [13]


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. [14]

Other countries

The Universal Day of Culture is celebrated also in Argentina, Bulgaria, Belarus, Chile, Cuba, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Mexico and Spain. [6]

Interesting facts

April 15 is also the birthday of Leonardo da Vinci.

See also

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Occupation of the Baltic states period in history of the Baltic States (1940–1991)

The occupation of the Baltic states involved the military occupation of the three Baltic states—Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania—by the Soviet Union under the auspices of the 1939 Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact in June 1940. They were then incorporated into the Soviet Union as constituent republics in August 1940, though most Western powers never recognised their incorporation. On 22 June 1941, Nazi Germany attacked the Soviet Union and within weeks occupied the Baltic territories. In July 1941, the Third Reich incorporated the Baltic territory into its Reichskommissariat Ostland. As a result of the Red Army's Baltic Offensive of 1944, the Soviet Union recaptured most of the Baltic states and trapped the remaining German forces in the Courland pocket until their formal surrender in May 1945. The Soviet "annexation occupation" or occupation sui generis of the Baltic states lasted until August 1991, when the three countries regained their independence.

Irena Degutienė Lithuanian politician

Irena Degutienė is a Lithuanian politician and member of the conservative Homeland Union, currently Deputy Speaker of Seimas. She was twice the acting Prime Minister of Lithuania, first from 4 May 1999 to 18 May 1999 and then from 27 October 1999 to 3 November 1999. She has also been the Minister for Social Security and Labour from 1996 to 2000. In 1978, she graduated from Vilnius University with a degree in medicine. For almost twenty years, she worked in Vilnius Red Cross Hospital before becoming a secretary in the Ministry of Health in 1994. In 1996, she was elected to Seimas and re-elected in 2000.

Baltic Way protest

The Baltic Way or Baltic Chain was a peaceful political demonstration that occurred on 23 August 1989. Approximately two million people joined their hands to form a human chain spanning 675.5 kilometres (419.7 mi) across the three Baltic states – Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, which were considered at the time to be constituent republics of the Soviet Union.

Baltic Entente Baltic 1934-1940 cooperation organization

The Baltic Entente was based on Treaty of Good-Understanding and Co-operation signed between Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia on September 12, 1934 in Geneva. The main objective of the agreement was joint action in foreign policy. It also included commitments to support one another politically and to give diplomatic support in international communication. The endeavour was ultimately unsuccessful, as the combined strength of the three nations and their statements of neutrality were insubstantial in the face of the massive armies of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.

Act of the Re-Establishment of the State of Lithuania

The Act of the Re-Establishment of the State of Lithuania or Act of March 11 was an independence declaration by the Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic adopted on March 11, 1990, signed by all members of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania led by Sąjūdis. The act emphasized restoration and legal continuity of the interwar-period Lithuania, which was occupied by the USSR and lost independence in June 1940. It was the first time that an occupied state declared independence from the dissolving Soviet Union.

State continuity of the Baltic states

State continuity of the Baltic states describes the continuity of the Baltic states as legal entities under international law while under Soviet rule and German occupation from 1940 to 1991. The prevailing opinion accepts the Baltic thesis of illegal occupation and the actions of the USSR are regarded as contrary to international law in general and to the bilateral treaties between the USSR and the Baltic states in particular.

There have been several designs for a peace flag.

Soviet occupation of Latvia in 1940

The Soviet occupation of Latvia in 1940 refers, according to the European Court of Human Rights, the Government of Latvia, the United States Department of State, and the European Union, to the military occupation of the Republic of Latvia by the Soviet Union ostensibly under the provisions of the 1939 Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact with Nazi Germany.

Soviet–Lithuanian Non-Aggression Pact was a non-aggression pact, signed between the Soviet Union and Lithuania on September 28, 1926. The pact confirmed all basic provisions of the Soviet–Lithuanian Peace Treaty of 1920. The Soviet Union continued to recognize Vilnius and Vilnius Region to Lithuania, despite the fact that the territories were under Polish control since the Żeligowski's Mutiny in 1920. It also recognized Lithuania's interests in the Klaipėda Region. In exchange Lithuania agreed not to join any alliances directed against the Soviet Union, which meant international isolation at the time when Soviet Union was not a member of the League of Nations. Ratifications were exchanged in Kaunas on November 9, 1926, and the pact became effective on the same day. The pact was registered in League of Nations Treaty Series on March 4, 1927.

Baltic–Soviet relations

Relevant events began regarding the Baltic states and the Soviet Union when, following Bolshevist Russia's conflict with the Baltic states—Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia—several peace treaties were signed with Russia and its successor, the Soviet Union. In the late 1920s and early 1930s, the Soviet Union and all three Baltic States further signed non-aggression treaties. The Soviet Union also confirmed that it would adhere to the Kellogg–Briand Pact with regard to its neighbors, including Estonia and Latvia, and entered into a convention defining "aggression" that included all three Baltic countries.

The term People's Parliaments or People's Assemblies was used in 1940 for puppet legislatures put together after show elections in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania to legitimize the occupation by the Soviet Union. In all three countries, the elections to the parliaments followed the same scenario, dictated by functionaries in Moscow and borrowed from incorporation of Belarusian and Ukrainian lands in the aftermath of the invasion of Poland in 1939.

Agni Yoga

Agni Yoga or the Living Ethics, or the Teaching of Life is a one of the neo-theosophical religious doctrine transmitted by the Helena Roerich and Nicholas Roerich from 1920. The term Agni Yoga means "Mergence with Divine Fire" or "Path to Mergence with Divine Fire". This term was introduced by the Roerichs. The followers of Agni Yoga believe that the teaching was given to the Roerich family and their associates by Master Morya, the guru of Roerichs and Helena Blavatsky, one of the founders of the modern theosophical movement and the Theosophical Society.

Background of the occupation of the Baltic states

The background of the occupation of the Baltic states covers the period before the first Soviet occupation on 14 June 1940, stretching from independence in 1918 to the Soviet ultimatums in 1939–1940. The Baltic states gained their independence during and after the Russian revolutions of 1917; Lenin's government allowed them to secede. They managed to sign non-aggression treaties in the 1920s and 1930s. Despite the treaties, the Baltic states were forcibly incorporated into the Soviet Union in 1940 in the aftermath of the German–Soviet pact of 1939.


Roerichism is a spiritual, cultural and social movement that emerged in the United States in the first half of the twentieth century.

Alberta Interscience Association is Canadian nonprofit organization based in Edmonton, Alberta. It was founded in 2009. Alberta Interscience Association runs different programs for adults, youth, and children.


  1. 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.
  2. 1 2 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
  3. N. Roerich. Prayer for Peace and Culture. Indian Magazine, September 1933.
  4. N. Roerich. The Banner. Meditation Monthly International, December 2010/January 2011 Vol. XXVIII No. 2.
  5. 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.
  6. 1 2 3 Participants of the International Movement for the affirmation of the Universal Day of Culture under the Banner of Peace.
  7. 1 2 Tomas Petryla. LEU veikia fotografijų paroda „Pasaulio kultūros dienos ištakos ir dabartis“. BNS Spaudos centras. 2014-11-18.
  8. Resolution on the Baltic states' Culture Day. November 24, 2007.
  9. The Day of Culture celebration. Lithuania.
  10. 1 2 Address of Mrs Irena Degutienė, Speaker of Seimas, at the Banner of Peace Hoisting Ceremony to Mark the Universal Day of Culture
  11. Council of the International Movement for the affirmation of the Universal Day of Culture under the Banner of Peace
  12. Letter from the Chair of the Association of Space Explorers V. Savinikh in support of the Universal Day of Culture. October 14, 2009.
  13. The Brazilian Roerich Institute. Activities in 2010
  14. 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.