London: Over 1,000 people gathered at Stratford-upon-Avon, the hometown of William Shakespeare, to celebrate the British playwright’s 458th birth anniversary.
The celebration, with a parade of local primary and secondary school students and civic groups, began on Saturday.
Residents and visitors sang a birthday song to the late literary giant.
The celebration was cancelled in 2020 and went online in 2021 due to Covid-19.
Shakespeare was born in April 1564. The exact date of his birth is not recorded, but it is often celebrated in Britain on April 23.
This date carries other special meanings. “World Book and Copyright Day” is marked on this day.
April 23 also coincides with the deaths of Shakespeare and the Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes.
Paul Edmondson, Head of Research for the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, said it was befitting to mark World Book Day by reading books of the greatest writers like Shakespeare and Cervantes and enjoying the theatre performances of their plays.
Ane, a resident from Derbyshire, told Xinhua that she came on a day trip to see all the festivities in Stratford and watch live performances by street entertainers.
Apart from attending celebrations, visitors descended on the town library to enjoy some quiet reading.
Jake, a 17-year-old high school student, said he loves reading Shakespeare and performs in Shakespeare plays at school.
Stratford Library prepared a “Shakespeare Treasure Hunt” to encourage young readers to uncover information about Shakespeare around the library.
Christine Woollard, a sales assistant, told Xinhua that Shakespeare’s books sales increased on Saturday.
“Visitors overseas are coming back. We’re seeing more and more, especially this year.”