One wonders – well, this one does – who decides which “days” are to be allocated to what worthy purpose and which are to be publicised and celebrated. Wikipedia gives a list of international observance, but these things seem to be fairly hit and miss.
Today, the day when Shakespeare, Cervantes and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega all died in 1616, is officially designated World Book and Copyright Day by UNESCO.
However, although yesterday the Google site was displaying a re-designed logo for Earth Day, today there is nothing special about the google.com logo, and on the google.co.uk site the reference is to St George’s Day and Shakespeare’s Birthday. (In fact, the birthday is only deduced from the fact he was baptised on the 26th.)
It seems that the UK celebrated World Book Day back on March 5th with around 13 million book tokens being distributed in schools to help promote reading. I wonder if the children who received them are to celebrate today’s World Book Day by presenting their corresponding book reports.
Here in Spain, April 23rd has long been recognised as el día del libro. In Catalonia, bookshops traditionally make a gift of a rose for each book bought. Quite how, or if, this links back to the St George’s day rose, I don’t know, although San Jordi is the patron of Catalonia and the legend there is that the rose grew from the blood of the slain dragon.
There are many versions and interpretations of the St George legend. This re-telling by U E Fanthorpe is probably my favourite.