For all the book lovers out there, there is a day that they would surely love to mark on their schedulers, that is, The World Book Day on April 23. Though we don’t see much of the excitement surrounding this day in India, there are several countries that really look forward to this day and give their citizens a literary flavour.
We bring you some of the lesser known facts about this day:
- Interestingly, the day falls on the death of the world’s literary legend, William Shakespeare and greatest Spanish figure, Cervantes.
- In a historical coincidence, Shakespeare and Cervantes died on the same date — 23 April 1616 — but not on the same day, as at that time, Spain used the Gregorian calendar and England used the Julian calendar; Cervantes actually died 10 days before Shakespeare died.
- The day was first celebrated in 1995, aimed to promote the joy of reading with book fairs and events organised in schools, shopping malls, libraries and public places in over 100 countries. The day is a gift to the world by the UNESCO.
- The UK and Ireland usually celebrate this day on the first Thursday of March every year taking into account the school holidays, examinations and other charitable activities. This year, activities around this day were planned for March 1.
- In Spain, Cervantes’ masterpiece, ‘Don Quixote’ gets uninterrupted reading of 48 hours by figures from the world of culture and politics, as well as anonymous citizens. Bookstores all over Spain remain open till midnight.
- World over, children are the focus of the celebrations. Introducing them to the world of books and exposing them to the new authors form the core of the activities planned out for this day.
- In India, this day was first observed in 1995 by a group of publishers, authors and academicians, not to engage kids into readings, but more in the wake of growing plagiarism and copyright violations (today’s day is also known as World Book and Copyright Day).
The story was originally published in April 2018