About Spanish Language Day
On April 23, the "Spanish Language Day at the United Nations" is celebrated to raise awareness among the Organization's staff, and the world in general, about the history, culture, and use of Spanish as an official language.
Spanish Language Day day was originally celebrated on October 12th, a national holiday in Spain known as Dia de la Hispanidad, and April 23 was originally dedicated to the English language, commemorating Shakespeare's birthday.
But Spanish Language Day was later moved to April 23 to mark the anniversary of the death of the death of the great genius of Spanish letters, Miguel de Cervantes. Coincidentally, the date of his death coincides with that of the most prestigious English playwright, William Shakespeare. Hence, both languages share the day.
From a language to a letter
The letter Ñ (pronounced "enye") is the only letter in the Spanish alphabet that originated in Spain.
The letter Ñ was created in the 12th century by Spanish scribes who came up with a way to save time and parchment when hand-copying Latin manuscripts. They decided to shorten words with double letters, combining the two letters into one with a tiny "n" on top to signify the change—this tiny n symbol is now known as a "virgulilla" or tilde.
For example, the Latin word for "year" is "annus" which eventually became "año" in Spanish. Today, the letter Ñ appears in more than 17,700 Spanish words.
The Ñ is not only a letter but it also represents Hispanic heritage and identity. It was officially entered into the Royal Spanish Academy's dictionary in 1803, and 190 years later, Spain passed legislation to protect its inclusion in computer keyboards.