Spain's finest national holiday 'Fiesta Nacional de España', takes place on 12th October every year and is one of the most important festivals in Spain, being a bank holiday for all workers.
The celebration involves a military parade through the centre of Madrid, attended by the Royal Family, the President of the Government and other political representatives. This day is marked in the calendar as a momentous date in the history of Spain because on 12th October, the "meeting of two worlds"(Europe and America) began, and this is their commemoration.
Spain, the world’s favourite tourist hotspot
Spain is one of the countries with the highest tourist demands in the world. Every year it receives millions of travellers looking to enjoy the country’s great cultural and artistic heritage, its beaches as well as its mild and pleasant climate, not to mention the food and drink!
Spain’s tourist boom began back in the sixties and since then it has been non-stop, with the Barcelona Olympic Games and the Seville Expo in 1992 being world-renowned events it has hosted.
Sun and beach tourism has been booming for decades thanks to the wide range of restaurants and hotels located on the seaside in coastal towns such as Benidorm, Torremolinos and Marbella. The north of Spain is a slightly colder and wetter. But it has its own attractions for visitors, from the Camino de Santiago route to the San Fermin bull-running festival, passing through the Picos de Europa mountain range.
Why is the national holiday celebrated on 12th October?
This national holiday is celebrated every 12th October, by order of Law 18/1987 in fact. The celebrations consist of a military parade and an air show (pictured) attended by many people, including notable figures such as the King of Spain.
The first celebration took place on 12th October 1935 in Madrid. However, it wasn’t made official until a few years later in 1958, when Spain was under the rule of the dictator Francisco Franco.
The official publication of the Spanish government, the BOE, classifies this specific day as "the historic event in which Spain begins a period of linguistic and cultural projection beyond European borders". This is because on October 12th, 1492, Christopher Columbus arrived on Guarani Island in the Bahamas after a long expedition, effectively ‘discovering the Americas’.
Neither Columbus nor his men knew that this was the first step in a historic event that would change our world view forever. It was the first time that Europe had contact with America and the way of life of people on both sides of the Atlantic changed completely. The colonisation of America by the European continent began from that moment onwards and the Fiesta Nacional de España is how it’s commemorated to this day.
Celebrate the National Holiday of Spain 2019 this year by going out and watching some of the parades or just taking time away from work to enjoy the early autumn air.