Spanish Language Day

Observed annually on April 23rd, Spanish Language Day is a holiday created to celebrate cultural diversity and multilingualism around the world. It was also designed to promote the equal use of all six official working languages within the United Nations.

The date for this holiday was chosen to honor Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, one of the most revered writers in the Spanish language, who died on April 22nd, 1616. Currently, there are over 559 million native Spanish speakers in the world, making it one of the most spoken languages globally, only behind Hindi, Mandarin Chinese, and English.

The History of UN Spanish Language Day

This holiday was created in 2010 by the United Nations Department of Public Information. It was first observed on October 12th to celebrate the Día de la Hispanidad in some Spanish-speaking countries. It was later changed to April 23rd to pay tribute to Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra.

Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra was born on September 29th, 1547, in Alcalá de Henares and would become one of the most regarded writers in the Spanish language and one of the world’s most celebrated novelists. He is known for writing Don Quixote, which is cited by many as the first modern novel and an important addition to world literature. On April 22nd, 1616, he died in Madrid at the age of 68.

Some Quick Facts About Spanish

Below are some quick facts about Spanish that we think everyone should know, particularly if they intend on observing UN Spanish Language Day. We believe the following points highlight this language and show everyone why it’s important to celebrate this holiday.

  • Spanish is a language derived from Vulgar Latin, which makes it a Romance language.
  • Spanish has a number of unique words that can’t be translated, or don’t translate well, into other languages.
  • Spanish is known as both Español and Castellano.
  • Approximately 20 sovereign states list their official language as Spanish.
  • The popularity of Spanish has risen dramatically over the past few decades.

Observing Spanish Language Day

All around the world, events celebrate Spanish Language Day, especially in Spanish-speaking areas. These events include seminars and exhibitions on Spanish authors, including not only Miguel de Cervantes but also Carlos Fuentes, Julia Alvarez, Jorge Luis Borges, and Rosa Montero.

People also use the hashtag #SpanishLanguageDay on social media to spread the word about this holiday. This is also a day when many people choose to learn Spanish or at least commit to learning Spanish.

When is it?
This year (2024)
April 23 Tuesday
Next year (2025)
April 23 Wednesday
Last year (2023)
April 23 Sunday
Culture & History, United Nations