The 12th of October is a day that is celebrated in many countries across the globe. We're going to take a short trip around the world to show you how this day is celebrated. Let's get going!

  • In Spain, the 12th of October is called "Día de la Hispanidad". It is also known more informally as the Day of the Armed Forces Parade. This is because on this day there is a large military parade in Madrid that takes place on this day. In Zaragoza, the October 12 is also the day of the Virgen del Pilar. This colorful festival is one of the most famous and popular festivals that take place in Spain.
  • In the United States this day is known as "Columbus Day" , and, curiously, this day exists thanks to the influence of Italian Americans and their immigrant ancestors. This is because Columbus originally came from Genoa, Italy. Today many Latin American communities celebrate this day also, sometimes calling it El Día de la Raza.

  • In Mexico, this celebration is known as the "Día de la Raza". Today this holiday celebrates the legacy of Pre-Columbian Mexico. In Colombia, this day is also known by the same name.
  • In 1994, Costa Rica created the Día de las Culturas . (Day of the Cultures) in which this county celebrates the contributions of the indigenous, Spanish, African and Asian cultures of this country.
Curiously, the first country to celebrate the Día de la Hispanidad was Argentina. This country first celebrated this day in 1917 (this holiday would come to Spain one year later). Today, this celebration has changed to become the Día de la Resistencia de los Pueblos Originarios (Day of Indigenous Peoples Resistance) thanks to the protests of activist groups within the country. In Venezuela, this day has used that name since 2002.

"Hispanidad", as we can see, is a controversial term and there have been some calls to have its name changed. Should we do it? Maybe we should keep in mind how the word is defined in the Dictionary of the Royal Academy of Spanish or RAE:
hispanidad. 1. f. A generic character of all the people that speak the Spanish language and relate to Hispanic culture.
2. f. Group and community of Hispanic people.
Once again, it is that language that unites us.



Constitution Day in Spain

Constitution Day (Día de la Constitución) marks the anniversary of a referendum held in Spain on December 6, 1978. In this referendum, a new constitution was approved . This was an important step in Spain's transition to becoming a constitutional monarchy and democracy.
View of the monument to the Spanish Constitution of 1978 in Chamartín district in Madrid.
A monument in Madrid to commemorate the Spanish Constitution of 1978 is pictured above.
Image copyright 2009 Luis García

What do people do?

On the days before Constitution Day, children and young people have extra lessons on the history, politics and constitution of Spain. Each year, a selection of high school students are invited to read the Constitution in the Lower House of the parliamentary buildings in Madrid a few days before December 6. The parliamentary buildings are open to the general public for one or two days. A cocktail party is held in the parliamentary buildings on December 6. Constitution Day is a quiet day off work for most people. They spend time at home relaxing with family members or close friends.

Public life

Constitution Day is a national public holiday. Public life is generally very quiet and most businesses and other organizations are closed. Most stores are closed, although some bakers and food stores may be open. Public transport services generally run to a reduced schedule, although there may be no services in rural areas. Official ceremonies may cause some congestion in Madrid.
If December 6 falls on a Sunday, regional or local authorities can move the public holiday to a different date. If December 6 falls on a Tuesday or Thursday, many businesses and organizations are also closed on Monday, December 5, or Friday, December 7.


Francisco Franco was head of state in Spain from April 1, 1939, until November 20, 1975. Spain needed a new constitution and political system after his death. General elections were held on June 15, 1977. The newly formed parliament started drew up a new constitution.  The Spanish Constitution of 1978 was approved by 88 percent of the people of Spain in a referendum on December 6, 1978.


Physical representations of the Spanish Constitution are important symbols of Constitution Day. An original copy, signed by King Juan Carlos I, is in the building of the Spanish Congress of Deputies on the Carrera de San Jerónimo in Madrid.
The national flag of Spain consists of two horizontal red bands separated by a yellow band. The red bands are of equal width and the yellow band is twice as wide as each red band. This version of the flag was confirmed in the constitution of 1978. The national flag is widely displayed on private homes, public buildings and even public transport vehicles on Constitution Day. It may be displayed alone or together with the European and regional flags.