Hispanic Day: Everything You Need to Know About Spain’s Day

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What is the Hispanic Day? When do the Spanish celebrate their National Day? Are shops and restaurants open or closed on this day? If you are going to be in Spain in October, you will probably have the chance to experience the Fiesta Nacional de España or Día de la Hispanidad, an official holiday in Spain and most of Hispanic America under different names.

Let’s find out more about the historical significance of Spain’s Day and about how it is celebrated!

Hispanic Day: What is it?

Hispanic Day is a Spanish national holiday and a celebration of many things: the Spanish legacy in the world, the cultural and historical ties between Spain and the Hispanic American countries, and the common indigenous roots of Latin America.

The Hispanic day or Day of Spain is crucial to understand Spain’s global heritage and importance, particularly in the Americas. It is a day of unity, fraternity, and mutual commitment to move forward together!

When is Hispanic Day or the Day of Spain?

While the National Day of Spain is celebrated only on October 12th, it’s usual to have the national holiday last a long weekend. In this way, all the citizens can fully enjoy the festivity and take advantage of the short vacation. You won’t find many shops open but bars and restaurants are!

During this “puente” or long weekend, many Spanish people travel to some symbolic places like the Cathedral-Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar, in Zaragoza, where there is a massive celebration honoring the Virgin of the Pillar (Virgen del Pilar), considered the “Mother of the Hispanic Peoples”.

History: Why is Hispanic Day celebrated on October 12th?

On August 3, 1492, the Italian trader Christopher Columbus departed from Palos de la Frontera (Huelva) in southwestern Spain. Two months later, on October 12, 1492, he landed in the “New World”; an island that is now part of the Bahamas.

The Spanish Monarchs, Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile known as the “Catholic Monarchs”, sponsored Columbus to look for a western route to India. Then, he accidentally discovered the Americas and that was the beginning of the Spanish Empire.

The first Hispanic Day celebration took place in Madrid in 1935. In 1981, many years later, it became a recognized public holiday. In addition, its name was changed to Fiesta Nacional (Spain’s National Day), removing any reference to Spanish colonialism.

Why is there a military parade on Hispanic Day?

The reason to have a military parade is to “enhance as much as possible” the commemoration of Spain’s National Day and “to seek in it the full integration of all the historical and cultural elements that make up the Spanish nation”, as explained in a Royal Decree of 1997 that established by law the military parade.

Madrid, the capital of Spain, hosts the main events on October 12th, but regional capitals across Spain also hold smaller events. The Spanish Monarchs, the Prime Minister, and other authorities attend the military parade in the heart of Madrid where the acrobatic flights by the Spanish Air Force are the day’s highlight.

12th October around the world: Columbus Day, Discovery Day, Americas Day, or Race Day?

Hispanic Day is not only celebrated in Spain but also around the world under different names. In the United States, it is known as Columbus Day; in Mexico, Chile, and Colombia it is known as Día de la Raza (Day of the Race); in Uruguay and Belize it is called Día de las Américas (Day of the Americas); and in the Bahamas, it is called Discovery Day.

However, in many Latin American territories, the “Día de la Raza” has become an important day to honor the indigenous cultures and traditions that resisted European colonization of America, rather than their Hispanic heritage.

Hispanic Day, Day of Spain, Columbus Day, Discovery Day, Americas Day, or Race Day… the many different names for this celebration are just a sign of how diverse we are. And that is the most beautiful thing about it!

Now, it’s your turn! Have you ever celebrated Hispanic Day? What do you normally call it? Comment below! And if you are coming to Spain to experience this festivity, have a look at our recommendations:


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