The Thing About Today – April 23

April 23, 2020
Day 114 of 366


April 23rd is the 114th day of the year. It is National Sovereignty and Children’s Day in Turkey and Northern Cyprus, commemorating the foundation of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey on this date in 1920.

In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Cherry Cheesecake Day, National Lost Dogs Awareness Day, National Picnic Day, National Take a Chance Day, National Talk Like Shakespeare Day, National Poem In Your Pocket Day (of which the date changes annually), and National Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day (typically observed on the fourth Thursday in April).


Historical items of note:

  • In 1343, St. George’s Night Uprising commenced in the Duchy of Estonia.
  • In 1348, the founding of the Order of the Garter by King Edward III was announced on St. George’s Day. (That’s today!)
  • In 1635, the Boston Latin School was founded in Boston, eventually recognized as the first public school in the United States (even though it was established before the country, but whatever).
  • In 1858, German physicist Max Planck was born.
  • In 1928, actress, singer, dancer, and diplomat Shirley Temple was born. She was Hollywood’s number one box-office draw as a child actress from 1935 to 1938. In adulthood, she was named United States ambassador to Ghana and to Czechoslovakia, and also served as Chief of Protocol of the United States.
  • In 1930, actor Alan Oppenheimer was born.
  • In 1936, singer-songwriter Roy Orbison was born.
  • In 1939, actor Lee Majors was born.
  • In 1977, English comedian, actor, producer, and screenwriter John Oliver was born.
  • Also in 1977, actor, comedian, and civil servant Kal Penn was born.
  • In 1985, Coca-Cola changed its formula and released New Coke. Universally recognized as (potentially) the worst decision in the history of mankind, the response was overwhelmingly negative. The original formula was back on the market in less than three months.
  • In 2005, the first-ever YouTube video was published. It was “Me at the zoo” by user “jawed”.


April 23rd is World Book Day. It is also also known as World Book and Copyright Day and International Day of the Book, and it is organized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to promote reading, publishing, and copyright.

The idea is credited to Valencian writer Vicente Clavel Andrés. He wanted to honor Miguel de Cervantes, best know for Don Quixote, on his birthdate (October 7th) and his death date (April 23). In 1995, UNESCO chose April 23rd, which is also the anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega.

A bit of historical trivia: Shakespeare and Cervantes died on the same date (April 23, 1616), but not on the same day. In 1616, Spain used the Gregorian calendar and England used the Julian calendar, so Shakespeare actually died 10 days after Cervantes, dated as May 3rd on the Gregorian calendar.

Today is also Canada Book Day.


The Thing About Today is an effort to look at each day of 2020 with respect to its historical context.

For more creativity with a critical eye, visit Creative Criticality.




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