The 12th of October is the National Day holiday, or Fiesta Nacional de España, in Spain. It is held each year on this date to commemorate Christopher Columbus’s arrival in the Americas on behalf of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella in 1492.
Spain’s King Felipe, Queen Letizia, Leonor, Princess of Asturias, and Infanta Sofía participated in the day’s festivities. It was a rainy day that began in Madrid with the homage to the Spanish flag at the Plaza de Canovas del Castillo and a military parade that took place between the Plaza del Emperador Carlos V and Plaza de Colón.
A battalion of the Royal Guard had the honour of raising the flag this year with His Majesty as the national anthem played, and the King reviewed the troops after saluting the flag. His Majesty spoke to those assembled, as well, before laying a laurel wreath.
The parade consisted of 3,800 military and civilian guards and vehicles and aircraft of the three Armed Forces and Civil Guard. Flags were carried from the countries that are members of the Joint Force Very High Availability, which included Albania, Belgium, Croatia, United States, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, United Kingdom and Romania.
The Spanish Monarchy’s official Twitter thanked those who came out for the parade, despite the rainy weather, by saying, “Thanks to the thousands of people who, in spite of the rain, they have witnessed in Madrid the commemorating national day parade.”
Later in the day, Their Majesties hosted the traditional reception at the Royal Palace of Madrid for selected people in the Spanish society. They greeted various members of the government, foreign dignitaries, presidents of autonomous regions, and people from all aspects of Spanish social life in the throne room before the reception officially began.
The Palace said in a press release, “The commemoration of the National Day aims to solemnly remember moments of collective history that are part of the common historical, cultural and social heritage, assumed as such by the vast majority of citizens.”
A royal decree first established the holiday as Día de la Hispanidad on 27 November 1981, but the name was changed on 7 October 1987 to Fiesta Nacional to be held annually on the 12 of October.