October 12th: a multifaceted celebration with the Virgin of Pilar as its patron saint

The day of October 12th is a nationwide celebration in Spain, on the occasion of the Hispanic Day or Columbus Day, commemorating Christopher Columbus’ discovery of America in the year 1492. To be more precise, the law regulating this festivity explains the reason to celebrate this day as the symbol of a historical event in which Spain was concluding the building of a new state, from cultural and politic points of view. At the same time, the integration of the kingdoms of Spain in the same monarchy took place, thus resulting in a great impact on linguistic and cultural spheres, well beyond European limits.

In spite of this day having taken place over five hundred years ago, and that initially it was thought it was the Indias that had been sighted, it’s become a point of reference in history when both worlds (the European and the American one) came in touch for the first time. For that motive, we started celebrating the Hispanic Day over a hundred years ago in Spain, an occasion which in turn received the name of October Bank Holiday. This expression is used by all inhabitants of this country who are dreaming of a few days off.

Celebrating October 12th in Madrid

One of the most characteristic symbols of celebration on the occasion of this nationwide festivity is the military parade in Madrid, personally presided by Spanish monarchs. This year is the first time in which Felipe VI will attend the event as King of Spain, accompanied by Queen Letizia. Another novelty this year is the aerial exhibition, which has returned to the celebrations’ schedule, counting with 30 aircrafts, Spanish as well as foreign. With Patrulla Águila being amongst the most distinguished, during this exhibition you will be able to behold striking aerobatics and stunts. At the same time, military forces will parade through Paseo del Prado of the city of Madrid.

The military parade presided by the monarchs of Spain taking place in Madrid during October 12th Bank Holiday

La Casa América of Madrid gives this celebration a different touch, organising numerous activities on the occasion of the Hispanic Day. Here you can enjoy a series of cinematic projections dedicated to Gabriel García Márquez, as well as other unpublished films in Spain.

On the other hand, we also celebrate the Virgin of Pilar, a festivity closely associated with the city of Zaragoza. These festivals have become famous all over Spain due to their coincidence with October Bank Holidays, as well as the amusement and performances they bring with them.

Granada: official acts and a running marathon

The tombs of the Catholic Monarchs’ are located in Granada. Paying homage to Isabel and Fernando, monarchs who reigned when America was discovered, is very common. The programme of scheduled acts specially prepared for this day is as it follows: at 10:30 am there will be a saint mass in the Royal Chapel, and at 11:40 am at the same location there will be a waving of banners. Later, at 12:15 pm a paying of homage to Admiral Columbus will take place. The afternoon will be dedicated to a procession and a variety of musical performances.

Due to running becoming a trend in the last few years, here is an alternative to the aforementioned acts; celebrated in Santa Fe (Granada) there’s a marathon called ‘La Hispanidad’ of Santa Fe, and it already counts with 1,800 runners. The starting line is located at the sports centre of the municipality of Santa Fe, and it begins at 11 in the morning on Sunday, October 12th.

In conclusion, here’s a short guide relating to how October 12th Bank Holiday is celebrated, a festivity mostly focused in the capital city of Spain, its most prominent event being the parade presided by the monarchs of Spain. It also has a certain repercussion in Granada, as well as the city of Zaragoza, a name that echoes all over the country on the occasion of the Virgin of Pilar, its patron saint.

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