World Book and Copyright Day (also known as International Day of the Book or World Book Day) is celebrated every year on April 23 – a symbolic date for world literature. The yearly event, initiated by UNESCO in 1995, aims to celebrate and promote reading, publishing and copyright.
The origins of the idea of a World book day can be traced back to an old Spanish tradition. April 23 has been celebrated as “Rose day” in Spain since the 15th century. On this day, people exchange roses with their loved ones in appreciation of one another. On April 23 in 1926 however, Spanish booksellers started the tradition of exchanging books to honour the memory of Miguel de Cervantes. Coincidentally, both Cervantes and William Shakespeare died on this day in 1616. April 23 is also the date of birth or death of other prominent authors, such as Maurice Druon, Haldor K.Laxness, Vladimir Nabokov, Josep Pla and Manuel Mejía Vallejo, making it a natural choice for UNESCO’s General Conference, held in Paris in 1995, to pay a world-wide tribute to books and authors on this date and declare April 23 as World Book and Copyright Day.
Happy World Book Day, everyone – time to celebrate! Not that any book lover needs a special reason to immerse themselves in reading, of course – but still, what better day to turn off your computer, put down your smartphone, and pick up a nice book to read? Add a glass of fine red wine to that, and you’re in for a real treat of an evening! Enjoy!