El día de la Hispanidad
Updated: Oct 11
Every year on the 12th of October Spain celebrates Columbus Day but in its own unique way.
Unlike America, Christopher Columbus is not celebrated in Spain but rather the joining together of Spanish speaking countries, La Hispanidad, Latin America or I suppose Spanish colonies.
Columbus, despite leaving from Spain in three ships is not known in Spain by that name.
Here he is called Cristóbal Colón.
In Italian, I believe he is known as Cristoforo Colombo but however he is known, he changed the old world forever.
There are many festivals in Spanish speaking countries on the 12th and many in Spain.
If you asked a Spanish person what is celebrated on the 12th of October, you might hear many different answers. Some will tell you that it is the feast day of Pillar and since Pillar is the patron saint of the armed forces, Spain has celebrated El Día de las Fuerzas Armadas every year since the year 2000.
Also known as Fiesta Nacional, the 12th offers plenty of reason to celebrate the Spanish fiesta but only Madrid enjoys the military parade which includes tanks and planes and thousands marching in front of the King and Queen, their two little princesses and the Spanish President.
The day symbolises the date that Christopher Columbus reached the Americas and is celebrated in various Latin American countries including, El Día Nacional, in Spain.
Glorified for centuries in America, Cristóbal does not enjoy the same reverence in Spain or other parts of the world as he does in North America, Personally I respect his bravery but don’t shy away from mentioning his cruelty.
A priest from Madrid recorded the horrors of Columbus in America with accounts of up to 3,000 people being killed in a day. Children had their hands cut off if they couldn’t mine enough gold and their hands were hung around their necks as a warning for others.
Columbus left Spain with three ships and 100 men, they didn’t even have as much as a compass and despite legends that the world was flat, I don’t think that most European sailors believed that at the time.
As I Boarded replicas of La Niña, Pinta and Santa Maria, I wondered what the men told their families? Were they single or married? 100 men sailed from Huelga in Spain with three ships but how do you provision a ship for a voyage of unknown duration?
We know Columbus was not the first person to discover America as Lief Erickson and Brendan the Navigator are both believed to have been there before him and there were also aboriginal people living on the continent which have since been named Native American Indians.
I think we should call them Native American Americans. The reason they are called Indians is because Columbus was lost at the time and was looking for a trade route to India. Columbus to my knowledge, never even went to mainland America, arriving first in Cuba and later South America.
Columbus didn’t enjoy a good reputation in his own lifetime as the title and deeds he secured for discovering America, were lost when he was forced to return to Spain in chains.
Word reached the old world of his cruelty and Admiral Columbus had to answer for his crimes even though he convinced the crown to allow him to return to the Americas two more times.
In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue but slavery and greed quickly turned our beloved explorer into a cursed pirate and tyrant.
El día de la Hispanidad is not seen as Columbus Day as it takes place on the feast day of Saint Pilar, who just so happens to be the patron saint for the armed forces.
Spain’s National Day celebrates, An Armed Forces Day and their patron saint, Saint Pilar are all shared on Columbus Day which marks the connection of Spain and Spanish explorers in the New World, El día de la Hispanidad,
Ask a Spanish person what they are celebrating on the 12th of October and you will hear various different answers. In Madrid, the event is marked with an enormous military parade enough to make Donal Trump jealous, as 85 aircraft including water bombers, used to fight forest fires fly over the city. Jet fighters also appear along with helicopters and planes and watch out for the military mascot that everyone loves to see, a goat marching with its unit. The Spanish Legion.
Similar to the famous French Foreign Legion, the Spanish Legion was formed in 1920.
Whatever floats your goat, the planes and parades are always worth seeing on October 12th but sadly have been cancelled this year as a result of Coronavirus and outbreaks in and around Madrid.
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A military parade, whatever floats your goat.