Did you know that Columbus Day is celebrated in several places around the world, Spain being one of them!
National Hispanic Day or Fiesta Nacional de España is the national day of Spain and held annually on October 12th. The day commemorates the anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s first arrival in America, similar to what we celebrate here.
It’s commemorated in a very special way in Zaragoza, where our SYA Spain school is located.
On this day they celebrate the Ofrenda de Flores. This is the high point of the Fiestas del Pilar, and a demonstration of the people’s devotion to the Virgin Mary. Throughout the day of the 12th, thousands of people dressed in traditional costume, leave flowers at the statue of the Virgin, which has place of honor in the middle of the Plaza del Pilar.
The celebration of Columbus’ landing in the New World on October 12th in Spain dates back to 1935, when the first festival was held in Madrid. The day was then known as Dia de la Hispanidad, emphasizing Spain’s connection of the Hispandiad.
The raising of the Spanish national flag in the center of Madrid is a key part of this annual ceremony. The Spanish Prime Minister then leads a military parade.
It is a day off from work and school and an opportunity to spend quality time at home or in the company of family members and close friends – just as you would here in the U.S.
In Zaragoza our students are able to attend the celebrations and immerse themselves in a holiday that is celebrated both here and there.