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Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Hispanic Day Celebrations Around the World

Municipal Band of San Carlos in celebration of Culture Day in Costa Rica

Día de la Hispanidad (Hispanic Day), is known in almost all of Latin America as Columbus Day, and although it is a holiday on the calendar, it is losing relevance in Latin countries, where even the Discovery of America has a negative connotation, charged with controversy. Columbus Day commemorates the historic anniversary of the Discovery of America by Spain and the birth of the Spanish Empire. The celebration takes place every October 12 and, in it, each Spanish-speaking country celebrates it in a different way.

In Spain the official term at present is the Fiesta Nacional de España (National Holiday of Spain). However, there are other terms used to designate this holiday: National Day of Spain, Day of the Fatherland, Fiesta de la HispanidadDía de la Raza (in most Latin American countries) or Day of Indigenous Resistance (in Venezuela).

At the same time, October 12, is the Día del Pilar (La Virgen del Pilar / Our Lady of the Pillar), "Mother of the Hispanic Peoples", when the Aragon city of Zaragoza dresses up to commemorate the festivities of its patron saint.

Floral offering in Mexico

In Mexico the date has been officially decreed, since 1928, at the initiative of José Vasconcelos, who alluded to what he called the Ibero-American race. It is a national holiday, but it is not a very relevant date on the calendar. In Mexico City there is a monument to the race where people can present their floral offerings.

Carnivals in Costa Rica

Costa Rica, officially since 1968, created the Day of Discovery and Race, but since 1994 this holiday was officially transformed into the Day of Cultures in order to jointly highlight both the cultural contributions of the Spanish, indigenous and Afro-Caribbean people. In some Caribbean places they have carnivals on October 12. However, the party that they truly celebrate in Costa Rica is Independence Day, on September 15. In it there are student parades and if any dignitary arrives in the country, it is the schoolchildren who receive them with flags in a formal ceremony.

School representations in Colombia

Columbus Day in Colombia is celebrated mainly from schools, with events where students represent the history and meaning of this day in history. At the governmental level, this holiday has less relevance, and small ceremonies with floral offerings are simply carried out. 

Counter-festivities in Argentina

Columbus Day was established in Argentina in 1917 by decree of President Hipólito Yrigoyen, as a reaffirmation of the Hispanic-American identity against the United States and the Monroe Doctrine. The events were celebrated at first, but the aboriginal communities have repudiated them and have denounced the death of some 90 million indigenous people in American territory. Thus, October 12 has been designated by many as the Day of Resistance of the Indigenous Peoples.

Indigenous Resistance Day in Venezuela

It was in 2002 when then president Hugo Chávez and, Minister of Higher Education, Samuel Moncada, called this date the Day of Indigenous Resistance, since they assert that it was not a discovery, but a genocide where the aborigines resisted the domination of the Spanish forces until the last breath.

Columbus Day in the United States

Columbus Day is celebrated in the United States to honor Christopher Columbus, who is credited with the discovery of America on his first voyage in 1492. It is celebrated on the second Monday in October and on each State is celebrated in a different way. This day stands out in the State of New York, with a great parade through the streets of the Big Apple; government offices are closed, as are public schools. In Denver, Colorado, there is also a parade each year, which has been the object of protest by Native American groups and their supporters for nearly two decades. The city of Berkeley, in California, has substituted Columbus Day for Indigenous People's Day since 1992. 

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