Spain: Hispanic Day Celebrates Columbus’ Discovery of the Americas

Holidays + Festivals

In the United States it is known as Columbus Day. In Spain, it is known as Hispanic Day. But both countries are celebrating the same thing, really: the Discovery of the Americas by Christopher Columbus on 12 October 1492.

Why don’t the Americans and the Spaniards celebrates the birthday of Christopher Columbus on the same day?

The Americans sometimes celebrate Columbus Day a few days earlier than the Spanish celebrate Hispanic Day because most pubic holidays in the United States are celebrated on Mondays or Fridays to give workers and students as many 3 day weekends as possible, and Columbus Day is no exception.

Columbus Day has been celebrated on the second Monday of October ever since the law went into effect to create 3 day weekends.

Exceptions to the rule are Christmas, New Year’s Day, and Independence Day, otherwise known as the Fourth of July.

If Columbus Day is a celebration of Italian-American culture in the United States, Hispanic Day is considered to be National day in Spain. So why the national disconnect?

Christopher Columbus was Italian, but his voyage of discovery, which resulted in the Discovery of the Americas, was funded by the Spanish crown.

So both countries claim him as their native son.

Celebrations in Spain

In Spain, the Spanish King supervises the raising of the Spanish national flag in the center of Madrid, the Spanish capital.

A military parade follows, with military planes performing aerobatic stunts above the parade route. The planes also release yellow and red smoke to represent the Spanish flag.

According to the Julian calendar, Christopher Columbus set sail from the port of Palos de la Frontera in Southwestern Spain on 3 August 1492. He landed on an island that is now part of the Bahamas in the Caribbean on 12 October 1492.

If the anniversary of this date is marked as Hispanic Day in Spain and Columbus Day in the United States, it is also celebrated in other countries, but with different names.

In the Bahamas, it is known as Discovery Day. It is know as the Day of Cultures in Costa Rica, the Day of the Race in Argentina, Chile, and Mexico, and the Day of Indigenous Resistance in Venezuela.


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