Ringing bells across Europe for World Peace Day
28 May 2018
In Europe, for over a thousand years the ringing of bells has marked the time for work, for rest and for prayer; the sound of bells has given an audible structure to religious and secular life, helping define community identity and offering a veritable language for communicating across distances.
Even today, millions of bells can be heard daily all across Europe. From church bell towers and city halls, cemeteries and memorial sites, bells ring out with a visual and acoustic representation of the core European values we want to convey during the European year of culture: solidarity and peace, which bind us together as Europeans, and our cultural heritage in Europe and for the world.
Many Europeans love the sound of bells, music without words that comes from a centuries-old tradition. The sound of bells is an intercultural sound, it has existed for millennia, abundantly pre-dating the birth of Christianity: whether Buddhist temple bells, Shinto shrine bells or Christian cathedral bells, all convey a sense of ceremony, the passage of time and transcendence beyond the bounds of language. This is culture in the broadest sense, part of our daily lives: it is an expression of custom and tradition; it represents the collective memory and is an integral part of religious ceremonies; it is a call for peace.
For Tibor Navracsics, EU commissioner for education, culture, youth and sport, bells “remind us that we must work unwaveringly to preserve and strengthen peace, solidarity and mutual understanding, which form the bedrock of our Union”.
In 2018 we commemorate the centenary of the end of World War I, so that we may never forget how precious peace is for all of us.
So we invite all bell owners across Europe to ring their bells together on 21st September 2018 to mark World Peace Day, from h 18.00 to 18.15, Strasbourg time. It will be a wonderful heritage-sharing experience.