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Aug
15
Sat
Assumption of the Virgin National Holiday
Aug 15 all-day

The feast day of the Assumption of Mary celebrates the Christian belief that God assumed the Virgin Mary into Heaven following her death It is celebrated on or around August 15 in many countries, particularly in parts of Europe and South America. It’s also called the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Dormition of the Most Holy Mother of God (in the eastern countries), or the Feast of the Assumption.

This is a national Holiday

Oct
9
Fri
Dia De La Comunidad Valenciana
Oct 9 all-day

The Day of the Valencian Community (Día de la Comunidad Valenciana) marks the anniversary of King James I of Aragon’s capture of the city of Valencia from Moorish forces in 1238. It is also the Day of Saint Dionysius,a traditional festival for lovers. 

October 9th is also a regional holiday.

Oct
12
Mon
Columbus Day Spanish National Holiday
Oct 12 all-day

The Fiesta Nacional de España (National Holiday of Spain) is a Spanish public holiday that falls on October 12th. Read on to discover the history behind the celebration.

Columbus Day
12th October
 
The basics

Spain’s National Day commemorates the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Americas and is also sometimes known as Día de la Hispanidad, or Hispanic Day. If October 12 falls on a Sunday, the holiday is usually moved to the following Monday so Spaniards can still have an extra day off work.

History

Italian-born Christopher Columbus set off from Palos de la Frontera in southwest Spain on August 3, 1492. Just over two months later he arrived in the “New World”, landing on an island that is now part of the Bahamas on October 12, 1492. Columbus, who was sponsored by the Spanish monarchs Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile, was actually looking for a western route to India but instead stumbled upon the Americas, a continent that had been largely unknown to Europeans. The discovery led to a period of rapid exploration of the continent.

Día de la Hispanidad was first celebrated in Madrid in 1935 and was made an official public holiday in 1981. In 1987, its name was changed to Fiesta Nacional (Spain’s National Day), removing any reference to Spanish colonialism.

Around the world

The day is also celebrated around the world: in the United States it is known as Columbus Day; Día de las Américas (Day of the Americas) in Uruguay and Belize; Día de la Raza (Day of the Race) in Mexico, Chile and Colombia; and Discovery Day in the Bahamas. While in the United States, Columbus Day is a chance for Italian-Americans to celebrate their heritage, in much of Latin America, Día de la Raza has come to symbolize the opposite of Columbus Day—a celebration of native cultures and traditions that resisted the arrival of Europeans on American soil.

Nov
1
Sun
All Saints Day National Holiday 1st November
Nov 1 all-day

‘Dia de Muertos’ is a holiday that originated in Mexico 3000 years ago when the Aztecs held annual ceremonies to honour deceased loved ones and celebrate the return of their spirits. The Spanish conquering of the Empire in the 1500s brought the Catholic element to the holiday in the form of their own celebrations – All Souls and All Saints Day. The result is a holiday with a blend of pre-Hispanic indigenous and Spanish Catholic influence that is celebrated not just in Mexico but in Hispanic countries and populations across the world.

Love and remembrance

Contrary to how it might sound, this day is a joyous celebration to honour and celebrate loved ones through ritual and remembrance.In Valencia, the day follows a typical pattern that is echoed throughout Spain. Many people create a private altar – ‘altar de muerto’ – in their own home, as it is believed that the souls of the dead return to join their families for the festivities. By celebrating with family both alive and dead, this emphasises that death must be seen simply as the next step, as opposed to something to be feared. These home altars are brightly and lavishly decorated with candles, food, drinks and fluttering tissue paper to represent the four elements.

Festivals, street parties and parades start early and last into the night, with the notes of celebration marked by the depth of passion and feeling. Families will go to the cemetery to remember and pray for their loved ones and clean the grave. Offerings are brought to create a shrine, with items such as incense, fresh fruit, flowers and candles, as well as objects that the person was fond of when they were alive, such as clothing or photos.