Spanish festivals: Día de la Hispanidad
This Friday, and every year on 12 October, one of the most patriotic Spanish festivals is celebrated in Madrid. Madrid’s streets are filled with Spanish citizens, brimming with national pride, as well as stunning parades and airshows above. But what is the Día de la Hispanidad and why is it celebrated?
Spanish festivals. Día de Hispanidad: History
The date of the 12th of October may ring a bell to many as the day that Christopher Columbus came across America, and this is the origin of Spain’s national holiday. On 12th October 1492, on his way to India, Christopher Columbus arrived at an island in the Bahamas, believing it to be India. In actual fact, Columbus had established the first contact between Europe and the Americas, triggering Spain’s colonization of the continent, and changing the way that the world was perceived. This significant day is the main root of Spain’s celebration today.
Centuries later, in 1935, the Second Republic of Spain wanted to celebrate the 12th of October as a public holiday, but it wasn’t until 1958, under the Franco dictatorship, that the day was officially celebrated as a national holiday. In 1981, after the fall of the dictatorship, a Royal Decree was published which declared the 12th of October a national holiday in a democratic Spain, now referred to as the ‘Fiesta Nacional de España y Día de la Hispanidad’, loosely translating to ‘Spain’s National Day and Day of Hispanic Pride’.
Spanish festivals. Día de la Hispanidad: Today
Nowadays, it is mainly celebrated in Madrid, where a great military parade takes place through the city’s streets. All sectors of the military take part, including the Navy and the Spanish Air Force, who perform a stunning aerobatics show above the many spectators. This parade is attended by the Spanish Royal Family, the Prime Minister, and other high-ranking officials, including representatives of Spain’s 17 Autonomous Communities. This parade is broadcast on national television so that the whole country can feel a part of the celebrations.
Spaniards throughout the country enjoy the long weekend that is known as ‘puente de Pilar’, because the 12th of October is also the feast day of the country’s patron saint, Our Lady of the Pilar.
If you want to experience the next Día de la Hispanidad and the parade for yourself, you can start planning your trip now, combining it with your Spanish course in the capital of Spain. Head over to our website and take a look at Spanish courses that we offer in Madrid!
Is there a similar celebration in your country? Let us know in the comments!