I check out a few of the official Google blogs and today they had an interesting post. It’s regarding some work being done by various organisations and part-sponsored by Google to help improve literacy numbers. All well and good. But the article is “In celebration of World Book Day” – which according to the World Book Day website was back in March.
Then I did a little digging. The link above is the top link should you search for “World Book Day” in Google itself. Despite the use of the word “World” and the “.com” domain, it seems it’s more of a UK thing. In fact, it was kicked off by Tony Blair back in 1998 – five years before UNESCO’s version which is actually somewhat more international in flavour.
In fact, UNESCO’s version is actually more English than our own version – given that it’s celebrated on St George’s Day. This is actually one of the reasons for them picking the date. In Catalonia (a province / part / territory / autonomous community / whatever) of Spain, it’s traditional on this date for men to give a rose to their lover, who in return gives a book.
Regardless, can someone explain how we can have a World Book Day, and a World Book Day (UK and Ireland) which are on two different dates? We obviously didn’t make ours “world” enough, despite nabbing the better domain name, and we only seem to concentrate on initiatives within the UK anyway. So another chance to lead the world wasted by a pathetic Labour government. Kudos for the fantastic idea and great initiative – they just didn’t take it far enough.
However, check out the title of UNESCO’s effort – it’s formally called World Book and Copyright Day. Which, to me, sounds a bit of a gobful and slightly legalese. There’s no denying, though, that it’s more widely accepted worldwide than the UK version.
As an aside, doesn’t it gall many of the English readers that our national saint is celebrated more in other countries around the world (I’d somehow expect Georgia to have a holiday) than in our own?