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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Celebrate the booming Spanish language at Instituto Cervantes

An explosion of Spanish words and a gastronomic celebration of delectable Spanish specialties will delight lovers of the language and food enthusiasts all day on June 20 as Instituto Cervantes de Manila celebrates the first ever El Día del Español (Day of the Spanish language).

Declared by Instituto Cervantes' main office in Madrid as an international cultural feast, Manila – along with the other 70 centers in four continents worldwide – will simultaneously take part in the grand celebration that underscores the relevance of the Spanish language, the main global language next to English.

"El Día del Español is a festivity that marks the significance of the Spanish language as a spoken and written language. After English, Spanish is currently the most important language in the world right now. It is also expected to open up a lot of new opportunities to people because it is also the second most widely-spoken business language in the world," says Instituto Cervantes Director José Rodríguez.

 "Languages shape the way people perceive the world and it also provides help in defining the culture of any society. It is not only a vehicle for the expression of thoughts but it also represents a fundamental expression of social identity," Rodríguez adds.

El Día del Español starts with an online campaign ( that captures the wide-spread use of Spanish as a language used at home and as a language of both instruction and learning. 

Free entertainment will be provided by a host of exciting performers and musicians for a whole day of leisure and activity for the whole family.

In addition to the great line-up of live music, Instituto Cervantes will stage the grandest of celebrations, including an all-day feast of Spanish food, vibrant street entertainment, games, and an exhibition of mimes, acrobats, and other artists.

The fun will kick off at 10 a.m. on June 20 (Saturday) on T.M. Kalaw Street, Manila, with the Manila City Hall Band playing lively musical pieces to get the party and the dancing started in true Spanish style. Revellers won't want to miss this street entertainment as a group of artists will also be putting on displays of acrobatic performances with stunning stilt walkers, jugglers, and mimes.

During the day, visitors can take part in the festivity by choosing their favorite Spanish word. Interested participants may just visit the Instituto Cervantes and write their thoughts in Spanish on creatively designed walls. First 50 visitors to write will receive a cool Dia del Español t-shirt.

 If that is not enough, guests can also join the Cual es tú palabra favorita video contest, wherein they can upload their videos explaining what their favorite Spanish word is in no more than 20 seconds.  The first 100 guests who will submit a video entry will get a free Henna tattoo containing their favorite Spanish word while the person whose word gets the most number of votes will take home a special book set and three thousand pesos (Php 3,000).

Children and kids at heart can also join the Pinta palabras – a colorful way of learning Spanish words.

To highlight the event, Instituto Cervantes de Manila will feature a symbolic firing of cannon containing a colourful blast of Spanish words and confetti. The cannon will be detonated at exactly 11:00 a.m. along with balloons containing with Spanish palabras making words literally thrown in the air.

 "Similar to the ancient tradition of firing cannon to inaugurate an event, on June 20 at 11 a.m., a cannon will be fired to celebrate El Día del Español. But instead of cannonballs which are intended to destroy, the cannon will be shooting out words to disseminate the importance of the language," Rodriguez says.

After the cannon firing, at 11:05 a.m., for sale at the patio are authentic Spanish dish and other mouth-watering pica-picas. Simultaneously, there will also be cooking demonstrations and seminars on Spanish cooking offered by Casino Español and food carts from Dulcinea.

Then at 11:30 a.m., show up at the Patio and test your luck with the Palabras Vivas contest. Contestants and audience alike will surely enjoy this unique, free and never before seen contest. In the competition, contestants will choose their favourite Spanish word and express its meaning through talent – by singing, dancing, band performance, short skit, or any special act. A Php 5,000 prize money awaits the lucky champion. To join, any high school or any college students must register on or before June 17. Talent performance should not exceed three minutes and contestants should also provide their own costumes and props.

Big fan of board games? Then visit the Instituto Cervantes's Interactive exhibit and learn to play competitively while making new friends. Starting 10 a.m., participants can get a chance to play the Sopa de palabras (word hunt), or the Formapalabras which is similar to Scrabble with Spanish words. They can also bring out the poet in them with the Magnetic poetry game and there will also be a special game hosted by the Mexican Embassy. Cool prizes will be given away to lucky players.

If you wish to remain a spectator, starting 12:30 p.m. guests can stay at the patio to laugh and watch the stars of Silly People's Improv Theater (SPIT) execute improvisational acting techniques to perform spontaneously. If that is not enough, you may also enjoy the Palabras y Musica program where upbeat music will be played by a live musician playing on the loft of the entrance balcony.

Visit us and experience a bombardment of excitement from the beginning of the celebration up to the end brought to you by Instituto Cervantes.

Dia del Español is presented by the Instituto Cervantes de Manila and the Embajada de España, in collaboration with AECID. Other sponsors are LRT, MRT, Casino Español, Faber- Castell, La Consolación College and Barceló Café.

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