On the 23rd of April in 1923, booksellers in Spain declared a holiday: Book Day!
This special celebration includes a tradition of giving books as gifts, a two-day read-a-thon and the King of Spain presents the Premio Miguel de Cervantes, an award for an outstanding writer in the Spanish language.
And ever since 1995, 23 April has become an international celebration: World Book Day!
Why the 23rd of April?
Although 23 April is often stated as the anniversary of the deaths of both William Shakespeare and Miguel de Cervantes, this is not strictly correct. Cervantes died on 23 April according the Gregorian calendar; however, at this time England still used the Julian calendar. Whilst Shakespeare died on 23 April by the Julian calendar in use in his own country at the time, actually he died ten days after Cervantes, because of the discrepancy between the two date systems. The apparent correspondence of the two dates was a fortunate coincidence…
I should point out that it isn’t quite the international celebration you would hope for. Notably, the UK celebrates World Book Day in March, to avoid clashes with Easter school holidays and St George’s Day. Because no one reads when they are on holiday, apparently. The annual event there is called World Book Day UK which is an interesting sort of truthiness usually reserved for Americans.
And on the 23rd of April in 2011, these wonderful photographs were submitted:
Come celebrate with our Saturday Scene submitters:
If you’d like to be included, just take a photograph on a Saturday and send the link to @SatScenes with your location. We’d love to see what you see!