World Book Day, celebrated every April 23, is an annual holiday that celebrates the literary world of reading, publishing, and copywriting. Originally initiated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1995, World Book Day is held as one of our many ways of recognizing and acknowledging the importance of literacy and literature in our modern world.
History and Origins of World Book Day
The idea of World Book Day actually began in 1922, as a way to honor famous author Miguel de Cervantes, but only gained popularity in Spain (since it technically started in 1922, we can consider this the 100 year anniversary!).
By 1995, UNESCO decided on popularizing the holiday and instituting it as an annual event celebrated throughout various regions in the Western world. The date, April 23rd, also coincides with various other famous authors’ death dates, including William Shakespeare.
Celebrations Across the World
There are many regions in which World Book Day is celebrated, and it is especially known throughout European and Western countries. In Spain, World Book Day includes forums and encouragement of literature in museums, libraries, and even universities to recognize great writers such as Miguel de Cervantes.
World Book Day shares its name with another annual event celebrated on the first week of March, held in Ireland and the United Kingdom, as a charity-based holiday where money is granted to students to spend on a book and encourage reading and literacy.
In the United States, World Book Day is celebrated by libraries, museums, and public schools to educate students and the public about the publishing and literary world. In Maryland, there is even a street festival every year for reading and books!
This World Book Day, maybe you can celebrate by putting more thought into the generational impacts of reading and literacy between past and present. Writers may use this holiday as an opportunity to get themselves published or as inspiration to start writing. You can look at some community resources to see if any forums or events are being held at your schools, libraries, or museums to recognize our love of reading!