In October, the 12th is Fiesta Nacional de España, the National Spanish Day, a very important (and busy) day in Spain and beyond. Lots of celebrations, parties and things are about to take place all around Spain. In this article, thanks to my local sources, I’ve gathered all the best events, festivals and parties so you don't have to waste hours on the internet, but simply keep reading.
But first, a bit of history
Officially known as the Fiesta Nacional, it is also the Dia de la Hispanidad or Hispanic Day as well as Columbus Day. Aaaand...last, but not least, it’s also the Armed Forces Day. A lot of stuff going on right? So, get comfy as I tell you more about it.
Everyone knows - or I hope - that on October 12th, 1492, a Spanish expedition led by Cristopher Columbus discovered America. The history goes on as while he was looking to circumnavigate the globe and land in India, he took a wrong turn on some oceanic roundabout, and suddenly arrived in San Salvador, in the Bahamas. His mistake was the stepping stone of the Spanish empire.
The Hispanic Day also commemorates the unification of the realms of Castilla and Aragón, which basically made Spain what it is today. Día de la Hispanidad first began being celebrated in Madrid in 1935 and was made an official public holiday in 1981. But in 1987, its name was changed to Fiesta Nacional (Spain’s National Day) to remove any reference to Spanish colonialism.
How people celebrate Spain Day?
The biggest event is probably the massive military parade along Madrid’s Paseo de la Castellana. So if you live in Madrid, you can miss the parade which sees the army, navy, air force, Guardia Civil and even the Spanish Legionnaires, all march along the capital’s grandest avenue.
The entire royal family attends along with leading politicians, and foreign dignitaries. The best part of the celebration is the exhibition of the Patrulla Águila, the Spanish Air Force acrobatics team, who release a stream of crimson in the sky to replicate Spain’s national flag. It's a pretty spectacular sight.
On the streets, the city is buzzing with patriotic energy, lots of flags are put out from the windows and hundreds of people gather in the city centre to celebrate this important date. This is a civil holiday, so head out to join the celebrations!
Malaga also holds a military procession in its Parque Huelin that you don't want to miss!
Aragon & Zaragoza
Celebrations are hosted in Zaragoza where the cathedral is dedicated to the patron of the Spanish Guardia Civil and of the Hispanic world, Our Lady of the Pilar. Here, many people will head out to watch the parades, so if you happen to be there, make sure to join the fun!
In addition to being the Fiesta Nacional de España, October 12 is Spanish holiday of Pilar – a religious festival in Aragon which honours the Virgin Mary. Though October 12th is the main holiday of Pilar, the festival runs from an entire week.
The celebration beyond Spain
All over Latin America, the day is observed in many different ways, with many different names like Día de la Hispanidad, Día de la Raza, Día de las Américas and Día de las Culturas. In Latin America, many of these holiday’s celebrate independence from Spain as well as its Hispanic identity.
In the United States the holiday is known as Columbus Day and it's a celebration of the discovery of America by the Italian-born explorer. October 12th, it's also a chance for Italian-Americans to celebrate their heritage.
Fiesta Nacional de España around the world
Spanish Day is also celebrated in many other countries around the world, It is the Día de las Américas (Day of the Americas) in Uruguay and Belize; Día de la Raza (Day of the Race) in Mexico, Chile and Colombia; and Discovery Day in the Bahamas. In much of Latin America, October 12th has also become a celebration of native cultures and traditions that resisted the arrival of Europeans on American soil.
So whether you are living in Madrid, or thinking about moving there, make sure to celebrate this Sunday!
Happy Spain Day from the Spotahome team!
Want to read more about Spain's culture and traditions? Keep reading:
- Let's Celebrate the European Day of Languages
- 10 Weird Easter Traditions around Europe
- 8 Locals Share How to Find Accommodation in Madrid
- [What to do in Winter in Madrid](https://www.spotahome.com › blog › winter-in-madrid)