HomeWorldEuropeSpain celebrates National Day 2023

Spain celebrates National Day 2023


Madrid, 12 October 2023 (TDI):  Spain celebrates National Day on October 12 each year, marking the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Americas in 1492. This day is also known as Columbus Day, Hispanic Day, or Día de la Hispanidad.

Over the years, the observance of this day has evolved, but it remains a day for Spanish people to come together.

On Spain’s National Day, various parades and celebrations are held across the country, with the largest parade occurring in Madrid, where the King and Queen of Spain preside over the festivities. The parade showcases military units, traditional dancers, and floats from different regions.

Apart from the parade, numerous events and activities take place on this day. People visit museums, enjoy parks, or have picnics with friends and family.

Concerts and fireworks displays are also common throughout the country. National Day is a time for the Spanish to celebrate their nation’s history and culture, fostering a sense of pride in being Spanish and reflecting on the country’s achievements.

The statue of Christopher Columbus, standing in Barcelona, at the bottom of La Rambla, which has become one of the city’s most important icons proudly points towards the port, where he ended his journey upon his return from the Americas.

The Spanish flag is prominently displayed on government buildings and by many businesses and individuals.

As October 12 is a national holiday, most businesses and schools are closed, and if it falls on a Sunday, the holiday is typically moved to the following Monday to allow for an extended weekend. This practice is referred to as ‘puente,’ meaning bridge.

While Spain’s National Day commemorates the discovery of the Americas, it is a date of significance for Spain’s global influence and legacy.

Along with Global felicitations, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan also extends its warmest congratulations to the people and government of the Kingdom of Spain on the occasion of their National Day.

Spanish Traditions and Cultural Diversity

October 12 is also recognized as the official Spanish language day, the Feasts of both Our Lady of the Pillar and the Virgen of Zapopan, as well as the Day of the Spanish Armed Forces.

It’s worth noting that October 12 is a subject of controversy for some. This is because it also marks the beginning of European colonization in the Americas, which had devastating consequences for indigenous populations.

In recent years, there has been a growing debate in Spain regarding how October 12 should be observed.

Some argue that the holiday should be renamed or abolished, while others believe it is important to acknowledge both the positive and negative aspects of Spain’s colonial history.

Spain has made significant contributions to world history, and several key aspects define its unique cultural identity.

To begin with, Spain is the birthplace of the second most widely spoken language globally, Spanish, which continues to shape global communication. Moreover, Spanish culture is a treasure trove of fascinating traditions and practices.

Within Spain’s diverse linguistic landscape, Castilian Spanish is the dominant language, but the country is also home to Basque, Catalan, Valencian, and Galician speakers.

Religion holds a central role in Spanish culture, with the majority adhering to Catholicism. In recent years, Spain has witnessed an increase in the Muslim population due to the arrival of African and Middle Eastern refugees.

The Sagrada Família is an under-construction church in the Eixample district of Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. It is the largest unfinished Catholic church in the world. Designed by architect Antoni Gaudí.

In addition to atheists, a small Jewish community also contributes to the religious tapestry of Spain. Remarkably, religious holidays and traditions remain widely celebrated, bridging diverse faiths.

A prominent manifestation of Spanish tradition is “Las procesiones” or processions, which have roots dating back to the 16th century.

These organized marches, akin to parades, not only reflect a deep-seated faith but also commemorate significant religious events. Notably, this tradition transcended borders, influencing Latin American countries, with Guatemala being a notable example.

Spain’s rich historical tapestry finds expression in various traditions and celebrations. “Semana Santa” or Holy Week, stands out as one of the most significant, marked by processions venerating the Passion of Christ.

Meanwhile, “El Día de Reyes Magos” or the Day of the Three Kings is a beloved holiday, featuring gift-giving and vibrant city parades.

The Festival of Fire, this festival is one of the most popular in the country. The reason for its popularity is not hard to understand. The festival is an avenue for partying from dusk to dawn.

Spain’s calendar is punctuated by lively “fiestas” or festivals dedicated to specific saints or cities. These jubilant events encompass a rich array of elements, from traditional foods and fireworks to dance, handmade decorations, parades, concerts, and theater.

Spain’s distinctive and iconic clothing, synonymous with its culture, can be seen in the attire of bullfighters (“toreros”) and Flamenco dancers.

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Notable traditional pieces include the “traje corto” (short suit), often worn by men along with a Spanish sombrero, the “mantilla” (veil) for women, and the “peineta” (comb) to secure the mantilla in place.

Spain boasts a thriving fashion industry, with the world’s best designers and fashion brands participating in the country’s fashion events.

Moreover, Spain is home to celebrated artists, including Pablo Picasso, Francisco Goya, Salvador Dalí, and Joan Miró, who have left an indelible mark on the world of art.

Flamenco show in Seville

The country’s artistic heritage is diligently preserved through classical and contemporary art museums that pay tribute to Spanish culture, traditions, and historical legacies.

Literature is an integral part of Spanish culture, with renowned works like “Don Quixote” by Miguel de Cervantes, a literary masterpiece over four centuries old, representing the country’s linguistic and literary excellence.

Spanish music resonates with a rich tapestry of melodies and rhythms, featuring extraordinarily talented songwriters and artists such as Plácido Domingo, Enrique and Julio Iglesias, Paco de Lucía, Alejandro Sanz, and Rosalía.

The diversity of Spanish music genres reflects the nation’s regional influences, with Flamenco, Rumba Catalana, and Bolero accompanied by string instruments and captivating dance performances.

The influence of Roman and Celtic traditions is evident in the various styles of Spanish music and dance, with Flamenco being an iconic representation of Spain’s cultural identity.

Other popular Spanish dances include Sardana, Muiñeira, Fandango, Zambra, Jota, and Sevillana.

In the realm of sports, soccer reigns supreme in Spain, with the national soccer team’s 2010 FIFA World Cup victory serving as a highlight.

La Liga Española, the Spanish league, is home to some of the world’s top-performing teams, notably Barcelona and Real Madrid, whose encounters, such as “El Clásico,” captivate the nation.

Spain also boasts exceptional athletes like tennis sensation Rafael Nadal and Formula 1 champion Fernando Alonso, who set benchmarks on the global stage.

Food is a fundamental pillar of Spanish culture, embodying a unique fusion of Arab, Roman, Jewish, and Mediterranean culinary influences.

The country is renowned for producing high-quality olive oil and wine. Key ingredients in Spanish gastronomy include garlic, tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, beans, and expertly cured meats.

An integral part of Spanish dining is “tapas,” consisting of an array of small, flavorful snacks like cold cuts, cheeses, croquettes, and calamares, elevating the culinary experience in Spain.

Paella mixta

Spain boasts a diverse array of beautiful cities, each with its distinct charm. Notable destinations include Ronda with its dramatic landscapes, Galera’s mesmerizing ambiance, and the coastal beauty of Cadaques.

Bilbao showcases modern architecture, while Valencia harmonizes modernity with history. Huesca is a haven for music enthusiasts, while Jerez De La Frontera is the birthplace of Flamenco.

Logrono offers delightful pairings of Rioja wine and tapas, and Santillana Del Mar charms as the “Town of Three Lies.” Burgos is celebrated for both its cuisine and monumental architecture, and Malaga is Picasso’s hometown.

Pamplona is known for thrilling bull running, while Seville is an enchanting city adorned with orange trees and historic bullfights.

Consuegra’s distant windmills beckon with timeless allure, while Cuenca boasts hanging houses and dramatic landscapes.

Cordoba is famous for its picturesque patios, and Segovia’s fairytale-like architecture inspired Disney. Granada invites exploration of its Moorish heritage through the Alhambra.

Aerial View – City of Madrid – Spain’s Capital

Madrid is the vibrant capital, and Barcelona, designed by Gaudi, is a city of perpetual celebration.

In sum, Spain offers a rich tapestry of history, culture, architecture, and natural beauty across its diverse cities, promising continuous wonder and fascination for travelers.

Iffat Masood
Iffat Masood
Iffat Masood is Contributor and Content writer on THE DIPLOMATIC INSIGHT, and also Ambassador from IAMCR. She is perusing her PhD. from UAB Barcelona, Spain in Audio-Video Communications and Advertising.

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