World Book Day

Let’s celebrate! Today is World Book Day!

Also known as World Book and Copyright Day, or International Day of the Book, April 23 is an annual event organized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to promote reading, publishing and copyright. It was first celebrated in 1995.

Vicente Clavel Andrés Clavel founded the day to honor the date of Miguel de Cervantes’ death in 1616. As a reminder, Cervantes wrote Don Quixote. In a historical coincidence, William Shakespeare also died on the same date. If you want to get technical, Spain used the Gregorian calendar and England used the Julian calendar, which makes Shakespeare’s actual passing 10 days after Cervantes.

Whatever the date 400 years ago, book lovers around the world now champion books and copyright on April 23, standing up for creativity, diversity and equal access to knowledge. According to World Book Day’s website, this day is “a link between the past and the future, a bridge between generations and across cultures.”

To recognize the magical power of books:

  • Catalonians exchange gifts and roses.
  • The Irish host charity events.
  • Students at the Monterrey Institute of Technology in Mexico organize outdoor forums to read aloud.
  • Those in Wales, with support from the Welsh government, send packets of books to registered schools.
  • Teachers in the U.K. distribute tokens to their classes for free books and encourage their students to dress up as their favorite characters.
  • In the United States, Kensington, Maryland invites all to a street festival held the Sunday closest to April 23.

If you’d like to participate, check out the World Book Day website for ideas. At the very least, gift someone a book.

Featured image compliments of the United Nations website.