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April 23rd: Spanish Language Day!


Spanish Language Day, known as El Día del Idioma in Spanish, is an annual celebration that falls on April 23rd. This special date highlights the importance of the Spanish language and its cultural significance. This lesson will delve into the origins of this celebration and explore some key facts about "the language of Cervantes."


Why Is Spanish Language Day Celebrated on April 23rd?

Spanish Language Day, declared officially by UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) in 2010, is observed on April 23rd. This day serves as a celebration of the Spanish language's significance as an official and intercontinental language, recognizing its rich history and cultural impact.


Initially, celebrations were held on October 12th to coincide with el Día de la Hispanidad (Columbus Day) in certain countries, which commemorates Colombus' arrival to the American continent. However, the date was later changed to April 23rd to align more closely with evolving worldviews and honor the memory of Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes, who passed away on April 22, 1616 but was buried the next day.


Coincidentally, April 23rd also marks the death of English playwright William Shakespeare. This shared date of remembrance highlights the enduring legacies of both Cervantes and Shakespeare, as well as the global impact of their work and languages. 


Top 8 Facts to Keep in Mind About Spanish Language Day


1. Global Presence

Spanish boasts 590 million speakers worldwide, making it the world's second most spoken language.


2. Educational Importance

Spanish is among the world's top four most studied languages, with 21 million students currently learning it.


3. Native Speaker Population

With over 480 million native speakers, Spanish ranks as the language with the second most native speakers worldwide. It is also the third most used language on the internet, highlighting its relevance in the digital sphere.


4. Language of Culture and Business

With widespread use in various sectors across the globe, Spanish serves as a language that facilitates mutual understanding in the realms of culture, business and beyond.


5. Top Spanish-Learning Countries

The United States, Brazil and France top the list of countries where Spanish is most commonly learned.


6. Official Language Institution

The Spanish language is distinguished by the presence of an official institution, La Real Academia Española (The Royal Spanish Academy), which was founded in 1713. Ever since, this institution has had the mission of ensuring the proper use and unity of the Spanish language, serving as a guardian of linguistic standards and norms while recognizing regional distinctions. 


7. Global Influence

Aside from its millions of speakers, Spanish is also the official language in at least 21 countries, including Spain, the majority of Latin American nations and the African country Equatorial Guinea. Do you know why Spanish is spoken in Equatorial Guinea? Let's hear Carlos explain it:


Igualmente quiero mencionar, que en Guinea Ecuatorial se habla español, gracias a un tratado del siglo dieciocho, a través del cual Portugal le cedió a España este territorio. Se estima que hoy en día el setenta y cuatro por ciento de la población ecuatoguineana, habla español de forma nativa.

I also want to mention that in Equatorial Guinea, Spanish is spoken, thanks to an eighteenth-century treaty through which Portugal ceded this territory to Spain. It is estimated that today, seventy-four percent of the Equatoguinean population speaks Spanish natively.

Captions 61-67, Carlos explica Recursos para consultas del español - Part 1

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8. Literary Celebration

In addition to Spanish Language Day, Book Day is also celebrated every April 23rd to pay tribute such renowned writers as Miguel de Cervantes and William Shakespeare. This tradition, initiated by Vicente Clavel Andrés in 1923, has become an international celebration via which UNESCO promotes culture and intellectual property protection.


The city of Barcelona, Spain, also marks this date with a very unique celebration: Sant Jordi's Day! Let's find out more about it:


un día como hoy, Sant Jordi, es el día en que se une el amor y la cultura. Además de ser el Día del Libro, para nosotros aquí en Barcelona tiene una tradición muy especial. A las mujeres se les suele regalar rosas, por una tradición y un cuento maravilloso de una doncella que estaba en peligro y fue rescatada por un príncipe de aquel peligroso dragón. Hubo un momento en el que ese amor se transformó en una rosa y es por ello que a ellas se les regala una rosa. Regalan ellas a ellos un libro, por ser parte del Día del Libro; así que es una tradición muy bonita.

a day like today, Sant Jordi, is the day that love and culture come together. In addition to being Book Day, for us here in Barcelona, it has a very special tradition. Roses are typically given to women due to a tradition and a wonderful tale of a maiden who was in danger and was rescued by a prince from that dangerous dragon. There was a moment in which that love became a rose, and that's why they [female] are given a rose. They [female] give them [male] a book because it's part of Book Day; so, it's a very nice tradition.

Captions 53-63, Víctor en España La fiesta de Sant Jordi

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With this clip, we have come to the end of this lesson. As you can see, studying Spanish is one of the best intellectual and cultural investments that you can make. We hope you keep learning Spanish, and don't forget to send us your suggestions and comments.



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Caption 63, 62, 61, 60, 59, 58, 57, 56, 55, 54, 53

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