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Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Fiesta Nacional de España (Spain's National Day)

Día de la Hispanidad Desfile Patrulla Águila, 12 Oct 2020 Thomas Holbach, CC BY-SA 4.0

On 12 October each year, which is a national public holiday, the Fiesta Nacional de España (National Day of Spain), also known as Dia de la Hispanidad (Hispanic Day) is celebrated throughout Spain, the Canary Islands and the Hispanic world. 

The traditional events are to be held again for the National Holiday Day after the 2020 ‘break’ due to the pandemic, where they were replaced by a brief act in the Patio de la Armería of the Palacio Real (Royal Palace). This year the Armed Forces will once again parade through the centre of Madrid, presided over by King Felipe and Queen Letiza. It is expected to be held in a somewhat smaller format, to avoid crowds, because although currently the incidence of infections has dropped considerably, the pandemic has not yet ended.

According to the website of the Madrid City Council, the parade will begin at 10:00 am (an hour earlier in the Canary Islands) with the incorporation of the Royal Guard Honours Battalion in the Plaza de Lima. At 10.30 am, the King and Queen will arrive in this same square and the military parade will begin. When the flag flies, a tribute is usually made to those who gave their lives for Spain, at the conclusion of which, the aerial and terrestrial parades begin. The starting point of the parade is usually the Plaza de Cuzco

Then there is the farewell to the monarchs, and finally, the lowering of the flag. 

In 1997, the most significant events of the Día de las Fuerzas Armadas (Armed Forces Day) were transferred to the National Holiday on October 12. The celebration traditionally includes a parade of the Spanish Armed forces, usually held in Madrid. Tribute is paid to soldiers who gave their lives for Spain, followed by a civil-military parade, which usually includes a display by the Spanish Air Force's aerobatics team, the Patrulla Águila.

The Eagle Patrol returned once more to fly over the city of Madrid for the Fiesta Nacional de España 2020. This is a small summary of how they have prepared at the Getafe air base for this special day. Their mission is to represent Spain and the Air Force at events, proudly displaying the colours of the national flag. One chief, seven regular pilots and reserve pilots, all flight teachers in the 793 squadron of the General Air Academy.