Instituto Cervantes de Manila, the cultural arm of the Embassy of Spain, will mount the annual Día del Libro or International Book Day on April 21 at Ayala Triangle, Makati City.
Instituto Cervantes is challenging biblio- and Hispano-philes to join in a quixotic enterprise: to copy Miguel de Cervantes’ immortal “Don Quixote de la Mancha” by hand.
The Spanish cultural center is in search of 500 “book-loving volunteers” to hand-write Cervantes’ novel. The final hand-written book will be deposited in the Miguel Hernandez Library of Instituto Cervantes.
People interested in taking part of the writing of Don Quijote can join on the same day with no prior registration. Participants in the handwriting chain will receive a rose.
Instituto Cervantes said the activity is to commemorate Miguel de Cervantes Day on April 23. The writer of “Don Quixote,” generally considered the first and the greatest modern (and postmodern) novel, died on April 22, 1616.
As in previous years, Día del Libro will feature top bookstores and publishing houses that will be selling a wide array of books at a 20-percent discount.
Following the tradition in Spain, every book purchase would entitle the buyer to a free rose.
Visitors to Día del Libro will be treated to poetry recitals, free Spanish language classes, book presentations, street art commemorating 200 years of Prado Museum, games, as well as activities for children.
La Liga, the Spanish football league, will also invite Manileños to score a goal in its “Chuta-Gol.”
The pop-up library “The Book Stop” comes back to Ayala Triangle. The project, designed by WTA Architecture & Design Studio, is a nonprofit library.
The Embassy of Chile will present an exhibit on Chilean writer Nicanor Parra (1914-2018), one of the renowned Latin American poets of the 20th century.
Manila Symphony Orchestra will give a free concert. “Concierto en el Parque” at 5:30 p.m., will feature classical Spanish and Filipino pieces.
After twilight, there will be Silent Disco and Spanish food fiesta.
First introduced in Manila by Instituto Cervantes in 2006, the tradition of Día del Libro began in Barcelona, Spain. Every St. George’s Day (April 23), men and women exchange roses and books. This date also honors the demise of two of history’s greatest writers—Miguel de Cervantes and William Shakespeare. (Cervantes actually died 10 days earlier since Spain had already adopted the Gregorian calendar ahead of England, which was still using the Julian calendar.) This significant coincidence prompted the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in 1995 to declare April 23 as World Book and Copyright Day.
April is also the birth month of the classic Filipino poet Francisco Balagtas. The National Commission for Culture and the Arts has declared April the National Literature Month.