UN Spanish Language Day Date in the current year: April 23, 2024

UN Spanish Language Day In 2010, the United Nations Department of Global Communications established observances dedicated to the UN’s official working languages in order to promote their equal use and celebrate multilingualism and cultural diversity. For example, UN Spanish Language Day is celebrated on October 12.

UN Spanish Language Day was originally observed on October 12, coinciding with the National Day of Spain, which commemorates the anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s arrival to the Americas. The holiday is also known as Dia de la Hispanidad (the term “Hispanidad” refers to the community of all people who share Hispanic culture and heritage). In many countries in Latin America, October 12 is celebrated as the Day of the Race and focuses on local cultural heritage.

However, later the date was changed to April 23 to commemorate the death anniversary of Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, a renowned Spanish writer who is widely regarded as one of the world’s preeminent novelists. Interestingly, famous English poet and playwright William Shakespeare died on the same day in the same year, so Spanish Language Day coincides with UN English Language Day and World Book and Copyright Day (the latter honors both authors).

The Spanish language originated in the Medieval kingdom of Castile located in the Iberian Peninsula. It is the most widely spoken Romance language and the world’s second-most spoken native language, after Mandarin Chinese. As of 2019, Spanish has 483 million native speakers, 75 million second language speakers and 22 million students.

About 90% of native Spanish speakers live in the Americas, where the world’s two largest Spanish-speaking countries are situated: Mexico is the largest one by population and Argentina is the largest one by area. Spanish is the official language in 20 sovereign states (Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Spain, Uruguay and Venezuela) and one dependent territory (Puerto Rico).

Spanish is also the official or one of the official working languages of a number of international organizations, including the African Union, the Association of Caribbean States, the Caribbean Community, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, the European Union, the Latin American Integration Association, the Latin American Parliament, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the Organization of Ibero-American States, the United Nations, and the Union of South American Nations.

There are two main varieties of Spanish: Peninsular Spanish (also known as Iberian Spanish or European Spanish) spoken in the Iberian Peninsula and the Spanish of the Americas. They differ in pronunciation, vocabulary and somewhat in grammar. Additionally, there are many dialects of Spanish both in Spain and in Latin America.

UN Spanish Language Day is marked with various events aiming to encourage and support initiatives that promote multilingualism and cultural diversity, as well as to raise awareness of the history and significance of the Spanish language.

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