Wednesday marks the 450th birthday of the legendary master of prose, William Shakespeare. While many Shakespeare groupies-yes, a dead poet can still have groupies, after all, he was practically a rock star for his time period-argue over the exact date, most have settled on April 26, due to historical records indicating this was the day of his baptism. Back in the 16th century, babies were baptized within three days of being born, so this date is probably fairly close to being accurate. Fans of “The Bard” may be wondering what they can do to commemorate the occasion, so here are four ways to celebrate William Shakespeare’s birthday.
Read Some of the Bard’s Famous Tales
One way to celebrate Shakespeare’s birthday is to block off a chunk of time, find a quite spot, and read one of the playwright’s famous works. Shakespeare did not develop many original stories, as most were based on historic events. He was a master at crafting tales chock full of deeply flawed characters with intricate personalities and relationships woven together with beautiful, witty dialogue that made great use of wordplay. Some of his most well-known works include Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Julius Caesar, and Macbeth, any of which is sure to thrill fans of classic literature.
Pay a Visit to Shakespeare’s Hometown
For those who happen to have some extra money burning a hole in their pocket, visiting Shakespeare’s hometown of Stratford-upon-Avon is the perfect way to celebrate the birth of the Bard. Stratford-upon-Avon was a small town located smack in the middle of England, and it is a perfect stop for any tourist in Europe looking for a way to pay homage to Shakespeare and his literary legacy. Fans will find the town littered with tea rooms serving delicious scones and some of the finest ale being passed around at pubs that have been in business for over 600 years. Visitors can also stop by Shakespeare’s birthplace and the cottage that belonged to his wife, Anne Hathaway. No, not that Anne Hathaway.
Put on a Play for Family and Friends
Since the majority of the work scribed by Shakespeare’s pen consists of plays, what better way to honor his birthday than to put on a small theatrical production for family and friends? This is a fun way to engage children with some of the playwright’s works without boring them to tears. Putting on a play is a great idea for homeschool parents who are looking for ways to not only expose their kids to classic literature, but to encourage them to ask questions and ascertain the theme of the stories on a deeper level. It will be a blast to make costumes and props and act out some of the most infamous scenes in all of literature. With three ways to celebrate William Shakespeare’s birthday down, the fourth one is perhaps the easiest and most relaxing.
Rent a few Movies Based on the Works of Shakespeare
The fourth way to celebrate William Shakespeare’s birthday is to pay a visit to the local video store and rent some movies based on some of the Bard’s most classic tales. There are countless versions of Romeo and Juliet that would be very entertaining, although certain takes on these classics will appeal to one demographic more than another. For example, the 1990s version starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes, which puts the setting of the story in modern times while still keeping the archaic dialogue, will appeal more to younger viewers than older audiences. Taking in a movie allows Shakespeare fans a chance to relax and enjoy some of the famous poet’s best works from their favorite chair, which is a pretty good way to end the day.
Opinion by Michael Cantrell