What exactly does Euro Day commemorate? How many people in the world use the euro in their countries? When did the euro start being used? These are questions that many people who have never been to Europe would like to know the answers to.
The Euro has been a consistently interesting topic since it came into existence in 1999—its occasional rapid climbs and drops, the controversy its introduction has caused in some countries, and the way it is an excellent reflection of the mindset of today’s Europe. For all of these reasons, the euro is more than deserving of its very own day!
The History of Euro Day
The name euro was officially adopted on 16 December 1995, and the euro currency came into existence on 1 January 1999, after well over 30 years of planning—European leaders had, in fact, been wanting to introduce one currency for the whole of continent since the 1960s. After years and years tough negotiations, and plenty of opposition from the United Kingdom, the currency was finally born virtually in 1999. Actual notes, however, and coins did not circulate until 2002. Since then, the euro has been rapidly taking over one European Union country after another, and its reach has been expanding along with the constant increase in the amount of countries belonging to the EU. It is currently used daily by about 334 million Europeans in Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Spain and is expected to be introduced into many more countries in the near future.
How to Celebrate Euro Day
If you don’t know too much about Europe in general, this is the perfect day to educate yourself a little! There are a number of things you can do to become a bit more familiar with European culture—all of the countries mentioned above may indeed use the same currency, but each and every one of them has its very own, unique history, culture, customs and cuisine, so pick one aspect of the culture of one or a few European countries, and get to know all about it.
If it’s the cinema that you enjoy, Europe has produced many compelling films that you will find are very different from most of Hollywood productions in the way they are acted and directed. A great movie to start enjoying European cinema with is “Hable con Ella” (Talk to Her), an excellent Spanish drama released in 2002, written and directed by acclaimed Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar. The movie won the 2002 Academy Award for Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen and the 2003 Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film. If you prefer scarier films, try Sweden’s critically acclaimed Låt den Rätte Komma In (Let the Right One In), a 2008 romantic horror film about a little boy who is rescued from bullies by strange little girl he then falls in love with, who turns out to be a vampire. The movie received multiple awards including “Best European Fantastic Feature Film”
If cooking is your passion, find a European recipe that you haven’t yet tried and spend the afternoon or evening making it! Buy some lamb and make delicious Greek pitas paired with tzatziki, cook up a big pot of creamy Swiss fondue, or make some tangy, filling Polish bigos.
However you decide to celebrate Euro Day, make sure that it helps you get to know European culture better!