Wednesday, April 22, 2009

World Book Day

Tomorrow, April 23rd, is celebrated in many parts of the world as World Book Day (or The International Day of the Book or Copyright Day) ever since UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) so designated the day in 1995. The holiday originated with the Catalonian tradition for men to give roses to loved ones on St. George's Day (April 23rd) and for women to reciprocate with a book (I think the men get the better half of the exchange). In Catalonia on April 23rd, outside stalls and stands crop up for purchasing books at a discount, authors have book signings, and schools have book-related field days. As a result of this tradition, half of Catalonia's annual book sales are made during this period.

UNESCO chose April 23rd as World Book Day partly because of the Catalonian festival but also because a number of well known authors were either born or died on this date, including Miguel de Cervantes, Vladimir Nabokov, and Shakespeare. In the UK, World Book Day is celebrated on March 6, so as not to clash with St. George's Day (April 23rd) since St. George is England's patron saint.

The U.S. does not celebrate World Book Day.

4 comments:

rhapsodyinbooks said...

Men totally get the better deal! I've always preferred cash to flowers! :--)

An Anonymous Child said...

It's strange that this isn't recognized in the U.S. and has a different date in England. Sort of defeats the purpose, doesn't it? Two major (and literary) countries not participating... Still, a nice idea on UNESCO's part.

La Diada said...

This is one of the nicest traditions ever. I just wished the traders didn't turn it into a greedy circus every year.Minimum 3 or 4 euros for a rose - come on guys!

Vasilly said...

The U.S. really needs to start celebrating this great day.