Spain marked her national holiday of ” El Dia De Hispanidad” yesterday October 12th with a much reduced commemoration in Madrid due to the ongoing “state of alarm” in the capital.
The Spanish royal family presided over the proceedings at the Royal Palace along with political and civil leaders. However leaders from Catalunia, the Basque Country, Aragón, Murcia and the Balearic Islands did not attend amid heightened political tensions in the country.
The traditional military parade on the Paseo de la Castellana was replaced by smaller closed-door event in the Armería of the Royal Palace with a reduced military parade led by the Spanish Foreign Legion whose patron saint of Pilar also falls on october 12th and who this year commemorates its centenary.
In recognition of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic the focus was on emergency and front line workers role in the combating the pandemic with representatives of personnel, including the emergency service (SAMUR), the fire brigade, civil protection agency and National Police on parade at the palace.
The event which was entitled “The Effort that Unites Us” was also attended by the members of the PSOE led coalition government including the Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez as well as members of the regional PP led coalition government including Madrid premier Isabel Díaz Ayuso, who are embroiled in a major dispute over the handling of the pandemic.
El ” Dia De Hispanidad” celebrates the anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ landing in the New World on the 12th October 1492.
The present celebration dates back to the Second Republic when the first festival was first celebrated in Madrid.
It has been a national holiday since 1981.