SPANISH LANGUAGE DAY
Every year on April 23rd, Spanish Language Day celebrates the second most spoken language in the world. It’s also a day to honor the most revered writer in the Spanish language, Miguel De Cervantes Saavedra.
The Spanish language originated in Spain. Currently, there are more than 450 million native Spanish speakers in the world. Only the Chinese language surpasses Spanish as the most spoken language in the world. Spanish is also the third most studied language in the world, behind English and French. About 75 million people in the world speak Spanish as their second language.
Not surprisingly, Mexico is the most Spanish-speaking country in the world. Spanish is the official language for 19 other countries including the following:
- Costa Rica
- Dominican Republic
- Equatorial Guinea
- Puerto Rico
The United States ranks second for the number of Spanish speakers. About 43 million people in the U.S. speak Spanish as a first language. This number continues to grow every year. Spanish is the most studied foreign language in the United States. Up to 70 percent of students from kindergarten through grade 12 learn this widely-spoken language.
Spanish is also one of six official languages of the United Nations. Other official languages of the UN include Arabic, Chinese, English, French, and Russian.
HOW TO OBSERVE #SpanishLanguageDay
Events and activities are held throughout the world in Spanish speaking regions. One of the most popular events is the reading of one of Miguel De Cervantes Saavedra’s most acclaimed novels, Don Quixote. To participate in this day:
- Read Don Quixote or another novel by Miguel De Cervantes, such as The Dialogue of the Dogs or The Little Gypsy Girl.
- Explore other Spanish authors including Julia Alvarez, Carlos Fuentes, and Rosa Montero.
- Make a commitment to learn the Spanish language, or if you learned it in high school, brush up on your Spanish skills.
- Listen to popular songs that contain the Spanish language, such as “La Isla Bonita” by Madonna, “La Bamba” by Richie Valens, “Te Amo” by Rihana, and “Livin’ La Vida Loca” by Ricky Martin.
No matter how you choose to celebrate, be sure to share your favorite Spanish phrase on social media with #SpanishLanguageDay.
SPANISH LANGUAGE DAY HISTORY
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) founded Spanish Language Day in 2010. Their goal was to celebrate multilingualism and cultural diversity. They also sought to promote equal use of the organization’s six official working languages. They chose April 23rd to commemorate the death of Miguel De Cervantes Saavedra who died in 1616.
The six days recognized include French Language Day on March 20, Chinese Language Day on April 20, English Language Day on April 23, Spanish Language Day on April 23 Russian Language Day on June 6, and Arabic Language Day on December 18. The U.N. also celebrates International Mother Language Day on February 21 and International Translation Day on September 30.
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