The 23rd of April was observed as Spanish Language Day, officially designated by UNESCO in 2010. Celebrations acknowledge Spanish as an official and intercontinental language, along with its surrounding history and culture.
Originally celebrated on the 12th October to celebrate the Día de la Hispanidad in some Spanish-speaking countries, commemorating the discovery of American continent.The day was later changed to the 23rd April in line with more educational values and to pay tribute to Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes, who died on the 22nd April 1616. Coincidentally, English playwright William Shakespeare also died on this day, and his works, legacy and the English language share commemorations.
The second most spoken language in the world, Spanish is also one of the UN’s six official languages. According to UNESCO, the UN has always found creative ways to promote all the languages in its spheres of work of which Spanish “could not be missing”.
There is additional support for the Spanish language in the organization ‘Grupo de Amigos des Espanol’ or ‘The Group of Friends of Spanish’ – a team founded in 2013, comprised of the 20 Spanish-speaking Member States to conserve and promote the Spanish language within the UN network.
Currently there are approximately 450 million native Spanish speakers worldwide, and roughly 75 million who speak Spanish as a second or additional language.
Celebrations were held across the Spanish speaking world and individually in cities and towns with a large Spanish diaspora.
A day largely focused on literacy, events and activities focused on Spanish authors are observed around the globe, including readings from Miguel De Cervantes’ ‘Don Quixote’ or ‘The Dialogue of the Dogs’, or works from other Spanish authors such as Julia Alvarez, Carlos Fuentes, and Rosa Montero.