12th October - Dia de la Hispanidad

Columbus was an Italian explorer who set sail, on behalf of the Spanish Monarchs, on 3 ships – The Santa Maria, The Niña and The Pinta, across the Atlantic Ocean in search of a faster route to the Far East. After a 3 month voyage, Columbus landed not in the Far East but in the New World – The Americas. 

Ever since 2000, October 12th has been celebrated each year with a military parade usually held in Madrid and presided over by the Spanish King and the Prime Minister of Spain, which also includes a display by the Spanish Air Force´s aerobatics team.  There are also celebrations in most regional capitals, but the day is usually overshadowed by celebrations for Our Lady of the Pillar, who is the Patron saint of the Spanish Guardia Civil (the Civil guard police force), which also falls on this date.

12th October is also an important date in the Southern Costa Blanca in the town of Benejuzar, where they celebrate Las Fiestas y La Romeria del Pilar.  Every 12th October, the congregation accompanies the statue of the Virgin Mary, created by the Valencian sculptor Enrique Bellido, from the church up the mountain to her sanctuary, where they have been camping and celebrating since the previous night, with a big party. This day also sees processions through the town and solemn masses.  These celebrations have been happening in Benejuzar for some 80 years, and attract around 50,000 visitors annually

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