“Reading is my accompanied loneliness”, 2017 Cervantes Prize Winner Sergio Ramírez said. Anyhow, stone and wood in prehistory ended up in books as a support for language and knowledge sharing. Shakespeare, Cervantes and Garcilaso de la Vega died on April the 23rd 1616. Additionally, April the 23rd is the date of birth or death of other prominent authors such as Maurice Druon, Halldor K. Laxness, Vladimir Nabokov, Josep Pla or Manuel Mejía Vallejo. Here is the reason for the celebration’s date!
April the 23rd is also Saint George’s Day, celebrated by nations, kingdoms, countries, and cities of which Saint George is the patron saint. Legend says that a long time ago a dragon had terrorized the inhabitants of a region, which changes from a version to another. Scared, they decided to calm him by feeding him one person a day, chosen by draw. On the day of the princess’s turn, a knight named Saint George came to her rescue and pierced the dragon with his sword. From the dragon’s blood, a rose bush sprouted with the reddest roses ever seen. A triumphant Saint George plucked a rose and offered it to the princess. For this reason, boys traditionally give girls a rose, as if they were respectively knights and princesses. Girls give boys a book, in memory of the death of the great ones of European and Spanish-American literature.
Editor, translator, journalist and writer Vicente Clavel’s dream of dedicating a day to culture through literature, books, reading and roses was fulfilled in Spain in 1926. In particular, in Catalonia a proverb says ‘a rose for love and a book forever’. In 1996, UNESCO chose April the 23rd to pay a worldwide tribute to books and their authors and to encourage everyone to discover the pleasure of reading. Over 100 countries all over the world celebrate World Book and Copyright Day. Nevertheless, this celebration takes place on another date in some countries, e.g. the UK and Ireland. After Madrid, Alexandria, Amsterdam, Buenos Aires and Bangkok, Athens just made its debut as UNESCO World Book Capital 2018. Talks with writers, translators and illustrators, exhibitions, poetry readings and workshops for edition professionals will take place in this capital for an entire year. Their aim is to bring books to every corner of the city.
Written by Víctor Mir – Robert Schuman Communications’ Trainee at TermCoord. Víctor, who hails from Spain, studied in a German School and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Translation and Interpreting, a University-specific degree in Linguistic Mediation and a Master’s degree in Edition, Production and New Journalistic Technologies