Alicante is a lively Spanish city throughout the year, but during Hispanic Day celebrations, the place really lights up. A national holiday countrywide, October 12th not only marks Christopher Columbus’s arrival on American soil for the first time but is also the day of the Virgen del Pilar, patron saint of the country and Zaragoza.
The National Day of Spain has been commemorated as an event since 1492, marking the discovery of the first contact between Europe and the new world. It was later aligned with Hispanic Day (previously called Race Day) celebrations when writer Ramiro de Maeztu, who in his article "La Hispanidad" highlighted the importance of both events and their celebration. The biggest event of the day is a massive military parade along Madrid's Paseo de la Castellana where the army, navy, air force, Guardia Civil and even the Spanish Legionnaires – with their goat mascot - come out in force to march along the capital's grandest thoroughfare. The culmination of the event is a fly-by from the Spanish Air Force aerobatics team, the Patrulla Águila, who release a stream of crimson and gold smoke to replicate Spain's national flag across the sky. Celebrations continue throughout the day in different parts of Spain. Here are a few places you can visit to make the most of Alicante’s Hispanic Day celebrations.
La Explanada Park
Alicante is known for its warm weather all year round so a walk at Explanada Park is always a pleasure but during Hispanic Day, the usual palm trees are accompanied by various craft stalls as well as various cultural activities like music and dance performances.
Alicante’s Famous Squares
Take a trip to one of the city’s famous centrally located squares such as the Plaza Gabriel Miró, built in the 19th century as a place of water supply and a meeting point, or the Plaza Los Luceros which is emblematic of Alicante and has direct access to the tram station. It is the hub for social events in the city including the Three Kings Cavalcade, parades of the Bonfires of Alicante and the place where the mascletás are held. Other notable places include the Portal de Elche and the Plaza de la Santísima Trinidad. Here festivities happen all day long during Hispanic Day and the crowd’s mood for celebration is truly infectious. Perhaps take a private tour and fully explore the aesthetic of central Alicante.
Tardeo is a typical Spanish tradition of going out with friends in the afternoon after lunch and staying out till it gets dark. Enjoy a lovely afternoon walk by the old quarter of the city and its centre, Calle Castaños or enjoy the delicious treats Alicante’s stalls have to offer including anise rolls, burnt bread, coca boba or the well-known nougat of Alicante.