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Spanish Language Day 23rd April - History, Activities, and Celebrations

By: MD Ismail Posted on Fri, 15-04-2022

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April 23rd is celebrated as Spanish language day. The day is celebrated for the language that is the second most spoken language in the world. It is also a day that honors the most credible writer of the Spanish language, Miguel De Cervantes Saavedra.

Spanish Language - Introduction

Spanish, as the name implies, comes from Spain, it has more than 450 million native speakers in the world. It comes as the second most widely spoken language after Chinese. Moreover, it is the third most studied language in the world after English and French. It is quite common among evident language learners. It is interesting to note that more than 75 million people speak Spanish as their second language. Moreover, Mexico is the country that has the most Spanish speakers in the world. Spanish is the official language of 19 more countries other than Spanish.

A few of these are:

  • Argentina
  • Costa Rica
  • Dominican Republic
  • Equatorial Guinea
  • Puerto Rico
  • Cuba
  • Spain

Spanish Language in the USA

The United States stands second when it comes to the number of Spanish speakers. As per the statistics, more than 43 million people speak Spanish as their first language in the USA. The number doesn’t remain the same and continues to grow with every passing year. Spanish is a popular language and the first choice of most people to learn as a foreign language. Almost 70 percent of the students from kindergarten to grade 12 learn this language.

Spanish is also included in the list of six languages of the United Nations. The other five languages are Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian, and English.

History of Spanish Language Day

According to some research, the day dates back to the year 1926. It was the Spanish writer Vicente Clavel Andres who for the first time proposed the idea that they should dedicate a day to celebrating the Spanish language and literature. Its practice started initially in Valencia, and later people from all over Spain started following the tradition. All the countries with Spanish speakers adopted this practice by 1964.

It is also important to note that initially, it was October 12 that was chosen to celebrate the Spanish language day. The date, however, was changed later by the UN. The UN did not make any official announcement or reason about what made them change the day.

The United Nations and its role 

United Nationals always encourages companies and relevant bodies all over the world to celebrate the days of languages. They urge them to conduct activities, organize cultural events and share the traditions that show the importance of multilingualism via art, food, music, and entertainment.

United National Educational Scientific and cultural organization are also known as UNESCO took the initiative to found Spanish Language Day in 2010. They intended to start this practice to celebrate multilingualism and cultural diversity. The body also worked to dedicate the days to the remaining five languages of the United Nations as well. The date 23rd April was chosen in the memory of the famous Spanish writer Miguel De Cervantes, who died back in 1616.

The rest of the five languages and days are:

  • March 20 - French language
  • April 20 - Chinese language day 
  • June 6 - Russian Language Day
  • Dec 18 - Arabic Language Day  

Moreover, it is worth mentioning that the United Nations has dedicated two more days; Mother language day and International translation day. 

These are: 

  • International mother language day on February 21
  • International translation day on September 30

Activities on Spanish Language Day

Spanish speakers observe a number of different activities and events throughout the world. An important event among the celebrations is the reading of Miguel De Cervantes Saavedra’s most celebrated novel, Don Quixote.

The normal activities which Spanish speakers perform on this day include

  • Reading Don Quixote and other novels of Miguel De Cervantes. These may include The Dialogue of the Dogs or the Little Gypsy girl
  • Going through the work of other Spanish authors such as Julia Alvarez, Carlos Fuentes, and Rosa Montero.
  • Committing to learning the Spanish language, for all those who have learned it in high school. They are resolute to brush up their skills.
  • Enjoying popular numbers that include lyrics in the Spanish language such as “La Isla Bonita” by Madonna

           “La Bamba” by Richie Valens

            Rehana’s “Te Ami” and

            “Livin’ La Vida Loca of Ricky Martin.

Spanish lovers also love to share their favorite Spanish phrase or quote on social media with the #SpanishLanguageDay.

Fun Facts about Spanish Language Day

English language day is also celebrated on 23rd April 7
It is quite a coincidence that English language day is also observed on the same date, i.e., 23rd April. 23rd April was chosen as English language day because it is the birth and death date of the greatest playwright of all times, William Shakespear. He had a great contribution to English literature and language, and hence the day is dedicated to him.

Wrapping up

Spanish language day is celebrated on the 23rd of April. Spanish speakers across the globe celebrate the day with great enthusiasm. People enjoy Spanish music, literature, and food. Different carnivals and cultural events are organized. It is also interesting to note that English language day is also celebrated on the same date. 

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