How is Hispanic Day Celebrated in Spain?

October 14, 2019
military parade madrid spain national hispanic columbus day
Spain's National Day (Fiesta Nacional de España) is October 12, a.k.a. Hispanic Day (Día de la Hispanidad), it commemorates the arrival of Christopher Columbus to the Americas. As it is Spain's big day, we get the day off and families celebrate attending one of the many events throughout the country or spending some quality time with their loved ones.

This has been my first time attending the celebrations in Madrid and today I want to share with you photos I took in the impressive National Day celebration of the country's capital and the story behind this festivity, from its origins to how different cities in Spain celebrate.

Read more about Family Traditions in Spain

military parade madrid spain national hispanic columbus day

HISPANIC DAY: LOOKING BACK IN HISTORY

Christopher Columbus set off from Palos de la Frontera, Cadiz, on August 1492. Two months later he arrived in an island that is now part of the Bahamas. However, this wasn't the original idea. Columbus, who was sponsored by the Spanish monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella, was actually looking for a western route to India but instead stumbled upon the Americas by mistake. Hispanic Day symbolizes the union between Spain and Spanish-speaking Latin America.
military parade madrid spain national hispanic columbus day
military parade madrid spain national hispanic columbus day
military parade madrid spain national hispanic columbus day

HISPANIC DAY: PUBLIC LIFE

Being a public holiday, most shops and businesses are closed on Spain's National Day so it's a pretty quiet day. Some bakers and food stores may be open and public transport services are reduced like on a Sunday.

If October 12 falls on a Sunday, regional or local authorities can move the public holiday to a different date.

Unlike other Spanish holidays, there's no special food associated with this festivity although family gatherings and copious meals full of yummy Spanish traditional recipes happen on Hispanic Day.

Read How to Host Your Very Own Tapas Party

military parade madrid spain national hispanic columbus day
military parade madrid spain national hispanic columbus day
military parade madrid spain national hispanic columbus day

HISPANIC DAY: HOW SPANIARDS CELEBRATE

The main event taking place on October 12 is the military parade in Madrid involving all the branches of the military: planes, tanks and other bodies. It goes along Paseo de la Castellana and is attended by the King and Queen, their daughters and leading politicians of the time.

There are two impressive moments during the parade. One is when the Spanish Air Force acrobatics team, Patrulla Águila, lets out red and yellow smoke that looks like the Spanish flag. The second one is when a parachutist jumps from a plane with the flag and offers it to the Royal Family upon landing.

Another favorite among those who attend the parade is the Spanish Legion, a unit of the Spanish Army whose mascot is a goat.

Once the parade is over, families enjoy the day off together eating out or doing some other leisure activities. Hispanic Day is also a day when many museums and palaces in Madrid open their doors to the public. There are also various performances at the Cervantes Institute of Madrid as well as special exhibits.

And speaking of Cervantes...Don Quixote's creator's beautiful hometown Alcala de Henares celebrates this day with lots of activities, including one of the biggest Medieval fairs in Spain. Alcala is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it's an absolute must if you are in Madrid.

Apart from the huge parade in the capital, Madrid, there are plenty of other celebrations that take place throughout the rest of Spain. For instance, a big one takes place in Zaragoza as it is El Día del Pilar and they celebrate Our Lady of Pilar patron saint.
military parade madrid spain national hispanic columbus day
military parade madrid spain national hispanic columbus day

HISPANIC DAY ALL AROUND THE WORLD

This day is also celebrated around the world: in the United States it is known as Columbus Day; 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.
military parade madrid spain national hispanic columbus day
I hope you learnt something new and interesting today. Tell me, how do you celebrate National Day in your country?

8 comments

  1. Beautiful photos Cristina! I did learn something new and how amazing would it be to see the planes create the Spanish flag in the air. I hope you had a wonderful weekend and happy Monday!

    Maureen | www.littlemisscasual.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. Awesome pictiures!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Fascinating - quite a spectacular display!


    Thanks for sharing at https://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2019/10/a-stroll-through-arboretum.html

    ReplyDelete
  4. I am usually a very informal person but I do like to see the pageantry of a proud parade. The colors are spectacular.

    It's great to see your post on 'My Corner of the World' this week!

    My Corner of the World

    ReplyDelete
  5. Great post dear!! Thanks for sharing this cutural type!
    Have a wonderful day! xx

    La ilusión de Nina - https://lailusiondenina.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  6. Kelleyn RothaermelOctober 16, 2019 at 2:58 PM

    Great photos! It was great reading about this celebration!

    ReplyDelete
  7. This looks fun. I love cultural celebrations like this.

    Jessica | notjessfashion.com

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for taking out the time to leave a comment!