The 23rd of April every year is a special date for all literature lovers. Not only because it marks the death anniversary of literary geniuses such as Cervantes, Shakespeare and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, but since the last two decades, it has been the day globally celebrated as World Book and Copyright Day.
The UNESCO undertakes the responsibility of organizing World Book Day as a celebration promoting literacy in the forms of reading and writing published literature. The idea originally generated from The Rose Day in Spain where people used to exchange roses with each other as a mark of their love. However, when Miguel Cervantes died on 23rd April, 1926, they exchanged books with each other to commemorate his passing away. This tradition still carries to date in Catalonia.
World Book Day is observed throughout the world in the form of various traditions and contests. The UNESCO decides a theme each year. For 2015, the focus was on promoting reading in the #Youth and amongst marginalised groups.
Books are the hallmark of a society, a community, a culture. They are the markers of creativity that set free originality of thought and freedom of expression in an increasingly materialistic world. While books seem to be losing their popularity in favour of the kind of instant entertainment provided by movies, there are people who still hold onto them despite the advent of visual simulation.
The thing is, everyone reads. Be it newspapers or comics or maybe even reviews for the latest action thriller. We are deeply dependant on reading, whether with will be on paper or on screen.
Adaptations of popular novels into television series; illustrated by George R.R. Martin's Game of Thrones is actively reeling in enthusiasts of the show to pick up the books and start reading. Driven by their desire to know what happens next; to know how does it end?
Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti celebrated this World Book Day by posting a picture of five tiny books floating in the International Space Station alongside the caption: "I like reading books because they give me answers to questions I didn't have yet…"
The importance of books should never be underplayed, especially in the context of a wider global community. Recently, and over the course of history, we have witnessed public book burnings and the vilifying of libraries as a show of strength and domination. Books are platforms for the progression of human intellect and they showcase the humanity that is common to all of us. They should be guarded, and jealously so.
Throughout history, mankind has held books in the highest of regards, whether we are talking about religious scriptures such as the vedas, the Bible or the Quran. Books are what denote the progress of mankind.
Reading fuels our intellect and imagination, it provides us with an escape in contrast to the reality we live in. JRR Tolkein is reported to have said that the only people who rail and storm at the aspect of escapism are jailers.
Don't jail yourselves, be free. Allow yourself to be unchained from the everyday mundane shackles of this world. Read and write and celebrate the freedom of word. Celebrate the freedom it provides you, spurring your imagination beyond physical boundaries. #Fiction