A couple years ago I wrote a post about the main differences between Portugal and Spain, from a native Portuguese perspective of course, so you need to take it with a pinch of salt (as you should with any content). One of the things I wrote was how from my point of view, Spanish people are a lot more patriotic than Portuguese people. I feel as a nation, we are pretty quiet in Portugal, whereas our neighbours are loud and proud. And while that felt strange to me, it was also a revigorating feeling. To feel people’s love for their country.
Día de la Hispanidad is the National Day of Spain. It falls on the 12th of October every year and it is a national holiday. Día de la Hispanidad actually stands for Day of Spanishness, so indeed this isn’t a day that celebrates only Spain as a country. It celebrates its cultural heritage and pretty much spreads upon the regions where the Spanish language is spoken due to colonization. So it is important to note that indeed this day commemorates the discovery of the American continent by Christopher Columbus on the 12th of October of 1492 – this was a turning point for Spain, establishing their overseas dominance and the Spanish Empire. So yeah. Here we are commemorating what was the invasion, murder and so on of the other civilisations… I think it’s important to be aware of that, even if at the time, in 2012, this wasn’t something that actually crossed my mind. Thank goodness for self-education and growth!
Anyway, on the 12th of October of 2012, I went out to see the marches in honour of Spanishness Day and took some of these photos you see here. It was just a patriotic parade – the army and stuff. Not really my thing, I’m such a pacifist, have an internalised hate for…you know, the demonstration of power through fleets, armies, guns in general…
What I do remember the most is being almost in shock with the emotion on people’s faces. And I’m talking about the population, crowds of people shouting, even crying… and all for their country. It moved me. Especially because I really never felt that way about my own country, for any country at all. I guess I’ve always been naturally detached – whether it is a bad or a good thing I don’t know. But we also know that extremism doesn’t bring anyone any good… yet I suppose loving your country just enough to be proud of it and to welcome other people and culture to it, whilst also recognising the flaws… that is healthy.
And this is all for today’s memories of my Erasmus times 🙂 What do you think? Does your country also have their day and how do you celebrate it? The Day of Portugal is on the 10th of June, but I never had a chance to attend any celebration, as they all hapepn in Lisbon and I never lived there. Only saw it through the TV screen… and it doesn’t look half as powerful as this was!