When And Why Is World Book Day Celebrated?

April 23 is World Book Day.
April 23 is World Book Day.

World Book Day is a day set aside by the UNESCO to celebrate copyright, publishing, and reading. The day is observed each year on April 23rd, and all UN member states are required to observe the day. However, some countries prefer to have the day set on a particular day of the month such as the first Thursday of March as is the case with the United Kingdom. The day, which is also known as the International Day of the Book, is similar to other events held around the world to celebrate the reading culture which includes the International Children’s Book Day and the World Book Night. However, the World Book Day is the sole holiday whose observation is stipulated by international law.

Observation Around The World

Different countries have different ways to observe the World Book Day. The day is observed annually in Spain on April 23rd. The day coincides with another important holiday in Catalonia, and in Spain, the World Book Day features the presentation of the Miguel de Cervantes prize which is held in honor of and named after respected Spanish author. The World Book Day marks the anniversary of the respected author hence the decision to have the prize-giving day held on the holiday. Saint George’s Day like Valentine’s Day features the exchange of gifts between family and friends. However, instead of usual gifts, people exchange books since the inaugural ofthe World Book Day. The day is also observed in the United States on April 23rd. In the town of Kensington, Maryland, the day is observed featuring pomp and color including a street carnival, an event which is organized on the Sunday closest to the World Book Day.

World Book Day In The UK And Sweden

In the United Kingdom, the day is observed on the first Thursday of March. The reason behind the preference of the first Thursday of March is because the day, April 23rd, usually coincides with Saint George’s Day as well as the Easter school holidays. On April 23rd, a different yet similar event known as the World Book Night is held by The Reading Agency, a charity organization. The day, April 23rd sometimes clashes with the celebration of Easter in some years. During such instances, the holiday has to be moved to a separate day. In Sweden, the World Book Day is observed on April 23rd and is also known in the country as “Varldsbokdagen.” The day had to be moved to April 13th in 2000 and 2011 as April 23rd coincided with Easter on those two years.

Similar Days

A similar day, the International Children’s Book Day is another holiday which is observed in several countries with the aim of promoting literature among children. The holiday, which is not observed de jure, is organized by a non-profit organization known as the International Board on Books for Young People. The day was established in 1967, with the inaugural event being held on April 2nd of that year. Some of the activities held during the International Children’s Book Day include book awards and writing competitions.


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