The Day of the book It is an annual event that takes place on April 23 in most countries of the world. This day was established to invite people to get involved with literature and promote not only reading, but also publishing. This festive event is commemorated with gifts and book fairs in the public squares of many western cities.
Why April 23?
In 1995, at the UNESCO General Conference, it was decided that April 23 would become World Book and Copyright Day as a way to pay tribute to books and their authors. April 23 was chosen because that is the day Miguel de Cervantes died, author of The Quijote, recognized worldwide for being the most important literary work of all time and in any language; William Shakespeare, the most prominent English-language writer of all time; Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, one of the most relevant writers and historians in Spanish history; and the date of birth of Vladimir Nabokov, an important Russian novelist and poet; as well as the French novelist Maurice Druon.
As it is celebrated
As the name suggests, the focus of the day is on books and writing. Therefore, UNESCO organizes several programs to promote reading habits. The focus is also on the discussion of various topics related to the world of authors, publishers, distributors, etc., as well as promoting their work and causes.
Besides, there are traditions for that date that are specific to some countries. The tradition of exchanging books and roses in Catalonia is already known, and there is also that of organize a two-day reading marathon in our country, at the end of which the author receives the coveted Miguel de Cervantes award from the King. In Sweden, writing competitions are organized in schools and colleges.
In both the UK and Ireland, the day is celebrated on the first Thursday in March instead of April 23. April 23 is St George’s Day in the UK and therefore, to avoid a clash with it, the day has been changed both there and in Ireland.
In Catalonia, World Book Day is marked by roses, books and lovers. In Sant Jordi, the Catalans celebrate the day of their patron saint, with this unique tradition. On April 23, couples exchange gifts: a book for men and a rose for women. Book and flower stalls are placed along the streets of Barcelona and other cities and towns in the region for one of the most popular celebrations of this day worldwide.