When did Cervantes and Shakespeare die?
Thus, based on the Gregorian calendar, Miguel de Cervantes passed away on April 22 and William Shakespeare on May 3, 1616, that is to say that Shakespeare died 11 days later than Cervantes. Cervantes was 68 years old and Shakespeare only 52.
Having cleared up all this mess of dates, it should be noted that the great Catalan writer Josep Pla also died on April 23! But from 1981!
The origins of the Book Day in Spain
The Day of the Book was already celebrated in Spain and Catalonia on April 23, before UNESCO declared it International Book Day in 1995.
In fact, in Spain, Book Day began to be celebrated since 1926 every October 7 .
The Day of the Book was used to sell books that booksellers had not sold the rest of the year, offering a discount.
Why October 7?
Because it was the date that Miguel de Cervantes was believed to have been born. Well, it was actually the date of his christening, which was the only date available. There is no official date of his birth.
We are back to a mess of dates! If you look in Wikipedia or any biography about Cervantes you will see that they indicate that he was born on September 29, 1547 (although in some places they keep October 7, the day of baptism as the date of birth)
But it is an assumed date, since it is not recorded anywhere. It is believed that it could have been September 29 because it was the feast of San Miguel. Let us remember the ancient religious tradition of giving the newborn the name of the Santoral, that is, of the saint of the day.
Spring versus Fall
Returning to the theme of the book day on October 7. It was considered more appropriate to celebrate this day in a more pleasant season for walking and browsing the books in the open-air booksellers. Spring was much better than fall. So in 1930 King Alfonso XIII approved the change of celebration from Book Day to April 23, the supposed date of the death of Cervantes (We have already clarified before that he actually died on April 22).
In 1930, the day of the book was celebrated for the first time on April 23, which in Catalonia meant celebrating the Sant Jordi festival and the Book festival on the same day.