World Book Day
Choice of date
In 1995, UNESCO decided that the World Book and Copyright Day would be celebrated on this date the date is also the anniversary of the birth and death ofWilliam Shakespeare, the death of Miguel de Cervantes, Inca Garcilaso de la Vega and Josep Pla, and the birth of Maurice Druon, Manuel Mejía Vallejo and Halldór Laxness.
Although 23 April is often stated as the anniversary of the deaths of both William Shakespeare and Miguel de Cervantes, this is not strictly correct. Cervantes died on 22 April and was buried on 23 April according the Gregorian calendar; however, at this time England still used the Julian calendar. Whilst Shakespeare died on 23 April by the Julian calendar in use in his own country at the time, he actually died eleven days after Cervantes because of the discrepancy between the two date systems. The apparent correspondence of the two dates was a fortunate coincidence for UNESCO.
World Book Day by country
In Catalonia, Spain, since 1436, St. George's Day has been 'The Day of the Rose', where the exchange of gifts between sweethearts, loved ones and respected ones occurs. It is analogous to Valentine's Day. Although the World Book and Copyright Day has only been celebrated since 1995 internationally, books were exchanged on 'The Day of the Rose' in Catalonia since at least the year 1926 in memory of Cervantes.
In Sweden, the day is known as Världsbokdagen (World Book Day), and the copyright part is seldom mentioned. Normally celebrated on April 23, it was moved to avoid a clash with Easter to April 13 in the year 2000 and 2011.
In the United Kingdom, World Book Day is held annually on the first Thursday in March, to avoid the established international 23 April date due to clashes with Easter school holidays, and the fact that it is also the National Saint's Day of England, St George's Day.