Today, the 23rd of April, is the day of the book and the rose.
23rd of April 1616 was the date of the death of two famous authors – namely WIlliam Shakespeare and Miguel de Cervantes.
Originally the 23rd of April was the date when the Roses Fair was celebrated already in the 15th Century. The legend says that it was to commemorate St. George slaying a dragon to rescue a maiden. A drop of the dragon’s blood turned into a rose.
In 1926 Spain decided to establish this day as the Day of the Book for the reason Miguel de Cervantes, the author of Don Quijote, died that day (according to the Gregorian calendar). The English of course had already been remembering the death of Shakespeare on that day for some time (according the Julian calendar).
In November 1995, UNESCO declared the day the International Day of Book and Copyright. It was stated that books had been the most powerful tool throughout history to spread knowledge.
The custom of the day is that men give women a rose, and women give men a book. Now I wouldn’t mind the tradition being the other way around, but I am sure my book shelves would complain. I already have books in two rows on the said furniture…
It is wonderful there is a day dedicated to the book. The ability to read is one of the greatest skills human kind has. It has the power to expand our minds, to learn interesting stories, to learn about our universe. The ability to read also disperses ignorance – which is why some cultures would like to keep a significant part of their populatio illiterate. The ignorant are easier to control.
Still, I can never cease to wonder how any country can afford not to use the brain capacity of all of their population. Allowing all children, regardless of gender, to learn to read and write, would pay great dividends in the future. It would also promote democracy, which seems to be a thing to be feared by many in powerful positions.
In the words of Malala Yousafzai: “Education is the power terrorists fear most.”
Why don’t we make every day the Day of the Book, and of Education?