October 12: The National Day of Spain

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Being the capital of Spain, Madrid is the place to be every year on October 12 – also known as the National Day of Spain or Día de la Fiesta Nacional de España! The city is buzzing with patriotic energy, the streets are donned in Spanish flags and packed with hundreds of people, all heading towards the city centre. This is a civic holiday, which means that you’ll most likely have the day off from school or work! So, make sure you head out to join the celebrations!

If you want to learn more about all the amazing days of celebration in Spain, make sure to check out our amazing section completely dedicated to Spanish holidays and festivals!


The Fiesta Nacional de España (National Day of Spain) isn’t just about celebrating the beautiful country of Spain. It also commemorates the historical day when Cristobal Colón (Christopher Columbus) took a wrong turn on his journey to India and landed in The Americas! Because of the worldwide affect of this event, October 12 is celebrated in several countries in Europe as well as other countries around the world!

For example, all over Latin America the day is observed in many different ways, with many different names like Día de la Hispanidad, Día de la Raza, Día de las Américas and Día de las Culturas. However, many of these holiday’s have changed the meaning of the day and actually celebrate their own independence from Spain, Latin American unity and Hispanic identity.

Enjoying the Holiday Today

In addition to having the day off from work/school, There are a lot of fun things happening during the National Day of Spain! The biggest celebration of the day is definitely the famous military parade along the Paseo del Prado, Cibeles, Paseo de Castellana and up to Plaza Colón. People gather in the thousands to watch the patriotic procession hosted by the government & military of Spain – and to maybe grab a glance at the King himself!

The city also puts on a large airshow presented by the Spanish Armed Forces Aerobatics team which usually takes place around 10:00 in the morning.

In addition to being the Fiesta Nacional de España, October 12 is Spanish holiday of Pilar – a religious festival in Aragon which honors the Virgin Mary. Though the twelfth is the main holiday of Pilar, the festival runs from Sunday to Sunday. So, if you have the time head up to Zaragoza to celebrate this fiesta with the locals!

Olin traveled form The Netherlands to Madrid for her internship at Citylife. She loves to explore new cities, and is really excited to share all her recommendations with you!

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