But thou art fair at thy birth, dear boy

Dramatic reenactment. Baby Shakespeare, circa April 26, 1564. 

Dramatic reenactment. Baby Shakespeare, circa April 26, 1564. 

April 2014 is an exciting time to be alive and a Shakespeare scholar as this month the Shakespeare blogosphere rejoices in celebration of the 450th anniversary of the Bard’s birth. I think we can all agree that is a more exciting time than say the 449th anniversary last year which passed without note because other than being a prime number 449 is pretty meaningless.

Shakespeare’s birthday is often assumed to be April 23, 1564, but lo these 450 years later, we cannot be certain of that date beyond the year. Public records show that the young babe was baptized at the Holy Trinity parish church in Stratford-upon-Avon on April 26. It stands to reason therefore that he was born prior to this date. April 23 is a logical estimation for his birth date and has the added bonus of also being the day he died. Which would presumably have made his birthday in 1616 not an especially good one. We also know that he was buried at the same church where he had been baptized 52 years earlier.

So without exact documentation, it’s fitting to make all of April Shakespeare’s 450th anniversary month. Here are just a few of the many ways you can celebrate:

  1. Kickin’ it at Stratford-upon-Avon at Shakespeare’s birthday headquarters: http://www.shakespearesbirthday.org.uk
  2. By catching up with the New York Times: http://learning.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/04/03/celebrate-shakespeare-on-his-450th-birthday-seven-ideas-for-teaching-and-learning/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0
  3. Drinking tea and reading sonnets (if you don’t live in the LA area, my thought is that you could probably do this on your own, arguably for cheaper than $40 depending on your tea of choice): http://www.shakespearebythesea.org/wp/tea-sonnets/
  4. By reading every one of Mya’s comics, because they’re great: http://goodticklebrain.com/shakespeare-index/
  5. Or even by sending a birthday card in the Bard’s honor. Here are just a few ideas: http://www.the-bards-cards.com/shop?category=Birthday

What will YOU be doing to celebrate this auspicious month?