The long and colorful history of Southern Spain has left an important footprint on Andalusian people’s lifestyles and customs as well as on towns architecture and urban planning.
Since when is October 12 a National Holiday and what is celebrated in Spain?
Although it commemorates an event 500 years ago, it was not until the 20th century that Columbus Day began to be celebrated institutionally.
Spain’s National Day takes place on October 12, in a day full of events where national institutions are very much present. Dia de la Hispanidad or Spain’s National day, its purpose is to remember the different moments of collective history that are part of our common historical, cultural and social heritage.
On 12th October 1942 we remind the arrival of Christopher Columbus on the American continent. This was a date that marked a before and after in the history of both Spain and the rest of the world. It made a big connection between two totally different worlds.
Columbus was attempting to find a western sea route to India. After leaving the Canary Islands, Columbus’ ships had been sailing west for five weeks, when on the morning of October 12th 1942, land was spotted.
The sighting is recorded as having been made by a lookout but Columbus insisted that he had seen a light from land a few hours earlier therefore making sure that he was awarded a lifetime pension from the Spanish Royal family for being.
While the National Day is celebrated exclusively on October 12, the national holidays takes, with no exception, a long weekend, at least 3 days, for the citizens’ leisure and enjoyment. Taking the advantage of these short holidays, many people travel these days in Spain, specially to visit other cities and emblematic places within the country. Common destinations are Aragon and its capital, Zaragoza, where the festivity of “Our Lady of the Pillar” (La Virgen del Pilar), “Mother of the Hispanic Peoples”, also falls on this date.