The 12th October is also commonly referred to as ‘El Día de la Hispanidad’ (or Hispanic Day), as this is what it was known as up until 1987. The 12th October is celebrated globally (by well over 650 million people!), although under different names.
1. What are the origins of the National Day of Spain?
The National Day of Spain celebrates Christopher Columbus’ arrival in the Americas on 12th October 1492. It is the equivalent to Columbus Day in the United States. The national holiday dates back to 1918,
when it was known as the ‘Día de la Raza’ (Celebration of the Spanish Race). In 1981 it became the ‘Fiesta Nacional de España y Día de la Hispanidad’ (National Day of Spain and Hispanic Day). It was then considered a day to celebrate Spain’s connections with other Hispanic countries. Finally, in 1987, the day was officially named ‘El Día de la Fiesta Nacional de España’ (The National Day of Spain).
2. How is the National Day of Spain celebrated in Madrid?
Some of the most important celebrations for 12th October take place in Madrid, so if you are in Madrid this October, make sure you don’t miss them! As 12th October is The National Day of the Armed Forces, there will be a special military procession, starting in the centre of Madrid, and finishing at the Plaza de Colón.
The soldiers march before the Royal Family, and the biggest flag in the whole of Spain is raised! Every year thousands of Madrileños, foreign officials, leaders from other autonomous communities in Spain and of course visitors to Madrid, all gather to watch the incredible procession and admire the must-see display from the talented Spanish Air Force.
If one thing’s for certain, it’s that the Spanish know about fiestas better than anyone else, so if you are in Madrid on 12th October, you can’t afford to miss these celebrations. They are undoubtedly some of the most important celebrations in the whole year!
If you are in another country that celebrates the 12th October, we’d love to know how you celebrate it. And, even if the 12th October isn’t traditionally celebrated where you are, there’s no reason not to celebrate Spanish culture over some tapas, tortilla or paella with friends and family back home!
Other articles you might like: The 5 best bars in Madrid | Spanish Festivals: Tourism and Leisure | El Rastro Flea Market | Cava Baja: The Street of a thousand bars