Public Holidays in Spain
Like any country, Spain has a calendar sprinkled with interesting public holidays — some are celebrated in other countries, others are uniquely Spanish. Who knows, you might get a chance to see some yourself on a school trip or holiday.
6 January — Epiphany
Celebrating the day the Three Kings reached Bethlehem, Epiphany is the day that Spanish children get presents from the Kings (not from Santa Claus) in their shoes. A special cake called “roscón” is eaten for breakfast.
28 February — Andalucia Day
Only celebrated in Andalucia, obviously, this day marks the anniversary of the Statute of Autonomy of Andalucia referendum, held in 1980. The people of Andalucia voted to become an autonomous community, which the government approved the following year.
15 August — Assumption Day
A religious holiday, this marks the day when Mary mother of Jesus supposedly was taken up into heaven at the end of her life. This is often celebrated with a procession where an image of the Virgin is paraded through the streets.
12 October — Fiesta Nacional de España
Spain’s national holiday, celebrated on the anniversary of Christopher Columbus first landing in the Americas in 1492. There’s always a military parade in Madrid overseen by the King and Prime Minister, as well as a display by the Air Force.
26 December — St Stephen’s Day
The day after Christmas commemorates the death of St Stephen, commonly known as the first saint to die for his beliefs. People generally get together for dinner on this day; common foods eaten include cannelloni pasta and “escudella i carn d’olla”, a pasta and meat meal.
31 December — New Year’s Eve
In Spain, the last day of the year is known as Nochevieja, Old Night. As well as fireworks, champagne and family dinners, Nochevieja is celebrated with “las doce uvas de suerte“, the twelve grapes of luck. As the clock strikes twelve, you have to pop a grape into your mouth for each stroke of the clock, in order to have a bountiful new year.