National Day in Gran Canaria

National day, which falls on October 12th, is celebrated all over Spain and it is a national holiday. Anyone called Pilar will also be celebrating their saint name day. The Spanish, being Catholic, often have saints’ names and they have 2 birthdays a year (sounds good to me!), one for the day they were born and the other to celebrate their saint name.


Photo by Berto Garcia

Photo by Berto Garcia

The History of National Day

The origin of National Day goes back to 1913, when a wealthy organisation chairman, lawyer and businessman proposed that October 12th should be named “Fiesta de la Raza” which means “Festival of the Race” (the Spanish race). This festival was already being celebrated in Zaragoza, Spain, and in South America. A Spanish priest changed “race” to “Spanishness” in 1935, to show more sensitivity for the different races and cultures in South America and Spain.


Gran Canaria is also a melting pot of cultures and races, including the Guanches who were the first to live there. The Guanches are naturally Scandinavian-looking with fair hair and blue eyes, quite unlike the stereotypical swarthy Spanish look!


  1. Miato

    Hi there,
    Where are you from? Is it a secret? 🙂
    Thank you

  2. Victoria (Post author)

    It’s no secret. I’m from Devon, England originally. And Gran Canaria now 🙂


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