5 Things You Didn’t Know About World Spanish Day

(That it existed, for starters)

Once again, the world has managed to complete a roundabout around the sun without crashing (sort of?). So it’s time for World Spanish Day again!

So what is day all about? At Lingopie, it’s a good excuse to take out our tuxedos to work. For all our fans and followers, we hope it’s a day full of work, play, and learning.

Let’s kick start the learning part of the day with 5 things you didn’t know about World Spanish Day!

#1 – That it existed

For many of us, our copywriters included, it was also a surprise.

The celebration of World Spanish Day dates back to 2010, when the good folk at the United Nations chose it to commemorate the importance of Spanish to culture, art, literature, and media.

After all, it’s only been 600 years since someone wrote the first Spanish grammar manual. And with only 572 million of us native Spanish speakers around, we have managed to accumulate a few achievements under our belt.

#2 – That it draws back from Don Quixote

And more specifically, from its creator, Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra.

The Ingenious Gentleman of Don Quixote of La Mancha is considered one of the foundational works of the Spanish language. It is considered to be the “first European novel”, although most people just know it as the funny tale of a mad man charging against a windmill.

In reality, this novel offers a deep reflection on madness and the dangers of refusing to accept the way the world has changed around them. Somewhere along the line, Cervantes manages to critique the entire Spanish society of his time.

Thanks to this novel, Cervantes eventually came to be regarded as the "Father of the Spanish Language".

He died on April 23rd, 1616. He left behind over a dozen stage plays and three major novels. As he was the first to bring the Spanish language to philosophical heights, he deserves to be remembered on every World Language Day.

#3 – That it’s a complete coincidence that it matches World English Day

Spanish doesn’t own April 23rd: this is also the date in which we celebrate World English Day.

Has this just been every language’s secret day and we didn’t know it?

No – although the United Nations have also chosen specific days to celebrate Arabic, Chinese, French, Portuguese, and Russian. However, all these other languages get their own day.

The reason for the shared date is just a coincidence. April 23rd was the birthday and death day of one William Shakespeare. He was pretty important for English language, apparently – sort of like the English Cervantes.

So because of this coincidence, English and Spanish got one more reason to compete over.

Now we resolve these differences is a more civilized manner

#4 – That it's just about the language

Not the country, the region, or Hispanic culture.

This is actually both a common confusion and a bit of a tricky subject. World Spanish Day is meant to celebrate the great artistic achievements made in Spanish.

It is different from Día de la Hispanidad (Day of Hispanic Culture), which is tied to Columbus Day, and it is not the National Day of Spain – after all, not everyone is Spain is happy to call Spanish their native language, but that’s a discussion for a different day.

#5 – That you can celebrate at home too!

Right now, travel options remain a bit limited, as do our budgets. So for 2021, you’re excused for not hopping into the next flight to New York and joining the party at the UN Headquarters.

Party for World Spanish Day
Photo by Neal E. Johnson / Unsplash showing how parties are not done in the United Nations

Instead, why not mark the day at home? Here are a few ways you can do it:

  • Learn about Miguel de Cervantes. He was a pretty cool guy before he became a writer and tax collector: He was a decorated soldier who spent five years as a POW and lost his right hand in the process. He’s an occasional guest star in Spanish period dramas.
  • While we’re on the subject of watching TV, why not hold a mini-marathon of Spanish movies or TV series? Bonus points if the series is set in the Renaissance. We hear La Española Inglesa is getting rave reviews.
  • Explore the melodic sounds of Spanish by listening to a live poetry reading.
  • Adjust the settings in your computer and phone, and have them work in Spanish for a day. It counts as language practice!

So What’s Next?

If you are now starting learning Spanish online, it always helps to have a day in which you make it all about your new language. Take this opportunity to explore all the other possibilities opened by learning Spanish – or revisit our top 10 reasons to learn Spanish.

At Lingopie, we firmly believe that learning a new language is not just a fun way to expand your horizons or meet new people, but that the act of learning should be fun too.

Our method, based on subtitled foreign-language movies and TV series, allows you to immerse yourself in the language without leaving home. Your brain will catch on to the grammar and vocabulary without you realizing it! Try it out for 7 days here.

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