Every reader knows that books can change the world. Books can exalt you, depress you, entertain you and even propel you to take life changing decisions. They feel like a cozy hug, a friend who knows your innermost depths. Books contain magic, and immense power. Isn’t that why the meaning of the world “authorship” is power? To hold the pen is to wield that power to hold a book is to allow that power to be wielded. It’s no wonder then than book lovers all over the world have a day to celebrate books, the 23rd of April, also known as the World Book Day. Let us see why world book day is celebrated on April 23rd.
World Book Day (April 23rd)
What is the World Book Day?
The World Book Day is a day of fanfare for readers all over the world. It’s a celebration of books that promotes writing, reading, publishing, editing and the like. Its aim is to give opportunities to every child, adult and human to hold a book in their hands and experience its magic and beauty. Especially for disadvantaged children who may not get access to stimulating material, books can be life changing. Developing reading as a habit can ensure success later on. It was keeping this goal and mission in mind that UNESCO in its general conference of 1995, held in Paris paid a tribute to books and chose 23rd of April as the World Book Day.
Over 100 countries observe this day. They host book fairs, book festivals and promote books on social networking sites or otherwise. Book tokens are given to young people in nurseries and schools.And since 2000, every year a city is chosen as the World Book Capital. In 2020, the World Book Capital was Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. And in 2021, the World Book Capital is Tbilisi, Georgia. Our capital, New Delhi, was the World Book Capital in 2003. It’s honestly pretty exciting, especially if you’re feeling low motivation to read books.
Why World Book Day Is Celebrated On April 23rd?
Several important literary events coincided on 23rd April, which is why it’s celebrated the world over as World Book Day. Let’s take a look at what these events were
Birth and Death of Shakespeare
Shakespeare, the most famous English playwright and arguably the most important figure in the history of English Literature died on 23rd April, 1616 in Stratford-Upon-Aven in United Kingdom. The cause of his death remains a mystery. Speculations say that he died of syphilis or was murdered. At the time, Shakespeare was 52 years old. In honour of the great literary figure, the World Book Day pays him tribute.
Death of Miguel de Cervantes
Another important event that happened to concur with Shakespeare’s death was the death of Miguel de Cervantes. Miguel de Cervantes is probably the most important writer of Spanish literature. His famous work, Don Quixote, which outlines the life of its titular character and his womanizing escapades has sold over 500 million copies. The celebrated writer tried his hand at all forms of writing – short stories, plays, poems, novels and more. His collection of short stories reaches almost as much artistic caliber as Don Quixote. The World Book Day also honours him.
Death of Inca Garcilaso de la Vega
On the same fateful day that saw the sad demise of the two aforementioned literary geniuses, another prolific writer also saw his last day. Inca Garcilaso de la Vega was a Peruvian writer. As a member of the Incan royalty, he chronicled Incan history, society and culture from a very significant perspective of literature. the world knows him for his book ‘Historia de la Florida’ in which he talks about his experiences in Florida as a Hispanic man. His work ‘Comenterias Realos de los Incas’ talks about the history of Inca, based on stories his relatives told him.
How can you celebrate World Book Day?
There are several ways to celebrate World Book Day, even from the confines of your home. Here, we’ll list a few things you can do either online or offline (when things get better!) But this list is my no means exhaustive. Celebrate the occasion the way you like – any way in which you pay your own little tribute to books and reading will be the perfect way to celebrate.
- Take a trip to a local library, and if you work at a school, take your students there too!
- Make donations to a specific library or bookshop that is close to your heart (you can make donations online too!)
- Make a donation to a charity, such as Book Aid International, to utilize to gift books to underprivileged children in other countries.
- Organize a book party with your friends where you dress up as your favourite fictional characters (you can hold a meeting online as well!)
- Host a book exchange program, where you exchange your favourite books with your best friends
- Donate your old books to underprivileged children and buy some new books for yourself in their stead!
- Check out amazon – they’re selling 10 free kindle books to people on the occasion of World Book Day
- Check out UNESCO’s social media pages, they’re sharing poems and stories!
- Recline on your couch with a cup of warm coffee and spend hours reading and meditating over a new book or an old favourite
- Extend support to book blogs like ours!