SOCIETY

Celebrating Spanish across the world

Spanish is the official language in 21 countries while, according to estimates, the world?s Spanish-speaking population will reach 600 million people by 2050 — today it stands at 500 million.

If figures call for a celebration, the international Spanish-speaking community already boasts El Dia E (E Day), a global event which unites its members across the world.

In its third edition, this year?s celebration will take place on Saturday, June 18. El Dia E revolves around a varied program of cultural activities taking place at 78 Cervantes Institutes in 44 countries across five continents.

Getting the language festivities under way at all these institutes is the ?Lluvia de Palabras? (Word Rain). In Athens the ?Lluvia de Palabras? will commence at 11 a.m. and will be followed by an event for children featuring Colombian storyteller Nelson Calderon at 11.30 a.m. At 7 p.m. the Cervantes Instite is hosting an event with Cuban author Reinaldo Montero, while a screening of Vladimir Cruz and Jorge Perugorria?s 2010 film ?Afinidades? will begin at 8 p.m. The film is based on a Reinaldo Montero novel, ?Musica de camara,? and will be screened in Spanish with Greek subtitles. Celebrations will culminate in a tango concert featuring Andre Maia and his band.

El Dia E also includes over 30 Spanish-speaking personalities from the fields of science, the arts, the media, sports and culture acting as the event?s godparents. Each personality has chosen their favorite Spanish word and online visitors are invited to pick their own favorite from these at www.eldiae.es.

Meanwhile, Cervantes Institute language students are invited to take part in a crossword puzzle competition, known as ?La Liga del Juego del Espanol.? While finalists will travel to Andalusia for the competition?s finals, a winner will also be named from the competition?s online version.

Prior to celebrating El Dia E, the Cervantes Institute in Athens is co-organizing the third edition of the Iberoamerican Festival of Literature in Greece, which showcases authors from Spain, Portugal and Latin America. The festival will take place at the institute?s premises from June 6 to 19 and is co-organized by the Cervantes Institute and Greece-based cultural publication Sol Latino.

From June 6 to 14 the festival will present an exhibition of magazine covers covering Sol Latino?s 10 years — designed by art director Valentina Villegas-Nikas — as well as cinema screenings of Spanish and Latin American films. From June 15 to 19, the festival will present a series of literary and poetry events, with guests including Chile?s Luis Sepulveda, Mexico?s Ignacio Padilla and Colombia?s Nelson Calderon. The festival also includes book presentations, concerts, dance performances and film screenings. For more information, visit www.solatino.gr or www.lea-festival.com.

Cervantes Institute, 23 Mitropoleos, tel 210.363.4117. Admission to all events is free.