THE ORGANIZERS of the annual Día del Libro — the International Book Day — once again invite bookworms to a day of fun, culture, and art-filled activities.
In Spain, Día del Libro is celebrated on St. George’s Day (April 23), with men and women exchanging books and roses. It also commemorates the demise of two of the world’s greatest writers: Spain’s Miguel de Cervantes and England’s William Shakespeare, who both died on April 23, 1616.
So on April 21, a Saturday, at the Ayala Triangle in Makati City, Instituto Cervantes, which is the Embassy of Spain’s cultural arm, will mark the day with free books and roses.
Other book purveyors who are participating in the celebration will be offering a wide range of books at a discount of 20% — and each purchase will come with a free rose.
The Instituto Cervantes first introduced the celebration to Manila in 2006.
Besides the free books and roses, there will be free Spanish classes, book presentations, poetry recitals, street art commemorating the 200 years of Madrid’s Prado Museum, games, and opportunities to meet authors.
Visitors are also invited — and challenged — to join a quixotic attempt of copying the classic novel, Don Quixote de la Mancha, by hand. The final hand-written book will be deposited in the Library of Instituto Cervantes. Participants in the handwriting chain will receive a rose, of course.
Meanwhile, the Embassy of Chile will present an exhibit on Chilean writer Nicanor Parra (1914-2018), a renowned Latin American poet of the 20th century.
The month of April is a celebration of world literature, as UNESCO declared April 23 “World Book and Copyright Day” to instill the love of reading printed materials while promoting respect for authors and their literary output. Since April is also the birth month of Filipino poet Francisco Balagtas, it is also celebrated as the country’s National Literature Month.
Among the goals of the celebration is to reinvigorate and re-establish the importance of the printed word and the library in society.
Thanks to the public’s positive reception in 2016 and 2018 to the nonprofit Pop-up Library designed by WTA Architecture & Design Studio, it will come back to the park for Dia del Libro. The library allows anyone to borrow books for free and exchange them for others.
It is not just a day of books though.
At 5:30 in the afternoon, visitors will be serenaded by the Manila Symphony Orchestra which will hold a free concert called Concierto en el parque, featuring classical pieces from the Spanish and Filipino repertoire.
La Liga, the Spanish Football League, will invite visitors to score a goal in its “Chuta-Gol,” a game where they can win prizes.
Before the celebration ends, there will also be a Silent Disco for everyone.
Spanish food will be available throughout the day.
Admission to all Día del Libro activities is free on a first-come first-served basis. For more information, call 526-1482, visit http://manila.cervantes.es or www.facebook.com/InstitutoCervantesManila.
Instituto Cervantes de Manila is at Ayala Tower One & Philippine Stock Exchange Tower Plaza, Ground Floor, Ayala Triangle, Ayala Ave., Makati City.