What do singer Shakira, actor Gael Garcia Bernal, chef Ferran Adria and writer Mario Vargas Llosa have in common? They are all part of the group of 30 celebrities who have shared through video their favorite word in Spanish as part of the celebrations for ‘E Day’ by the Cervantes Institute.
The Cervantes Institute of Spanish has set out to celebrate the Spanish language in a series of cultural and educational events held all around the world at their institutes on the weekend closest to the Summer Solstice; this year, that date will fall on June 18, 2011.
Through their website they have managed to catch the interest of Spanish speakers around the world, who have voted for their word video and played crossword games with other visitors to the site in the chance to win a trip for two to Andalucia in Spain.
The videos of celebrities saying their favorite words have become one of the main attractions to publicize the event and even in countries where there won't be any Cervantes Institute celebrations, the videos have been shown on television:
En esta tercera edición, contamos con el apoyo y participación de treinta personalidades de los más diversos campos del saber, que han compartido con nosotros lo que supone para ellos hablar español. Por ello, animamos a todos los hispanohablantes a que participen en esta iniciativa eligiendo una de las palabras de nuestra lengua que nuestros más ilustres han considerado su favorita.
All videos are captioned in Spanish: if you wish to read the captions in another language, please click on the translate captions option in the YouTube video.
Colombian artist Shakira has become famous around the world for her singing and dancing; most recently for the world cup in which the Waka Waka song became the companion to Vuvuzelas in stadiums and homes all over the planet. In this video, she explains why “mellifluous” is her favorite word in Spanish.
People might remember Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal as el Che in Motorcycle Diaries, or as eccentric Stéphane in Michel Gondry's film “The Science of Sleep”: in this contest, his favorite word “Querétaro” has won him the support of users who have cast thousands of votes in his favor.
Spanish chef Ferran Adria has been considered the world's best cook and his restaurant El Bulli topped the charts with its innovative approach to food and cuisine, through deconstruction of elements and the transformation of textures while maintaining taste. His chosen word seems to reflect his approach to food and cooking: Soul.
Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2010, after decades of being constantly nominated. In accordance to his political career and aspirations, his chosen word for the Cervantes Institute was “liberty”.
You can see the entries and vote on your favorite by following this link to Vote Your Word. Pictures of the prep work to the celebrations on June 18, as well as the events of past years can be seen on their Flickr page.