El 12 de Octubre has many different meanings in the Spanish-speaking world. For some people it is el Día de Colón, the day Christopher Columbus arrived in the Americas. For some, it is el Día de la Hispanidad, a day to celebrate one’s connection with all other Spanish-speaking people, regardless of their country. And for others, it is el Día de la Raza, a day when indigenous people come together as a community and celebrate their heritage. Other Spanish speakers celebrate their mixed heritage of indigenous, African, and European cultures. How you celebrate depends very much on you and your family’s origin and on the community where you live. For all Spanish-speaking groups, el 12 de octubre marks a key turning point in the lives and cultures of the people in Spain and those living in the Americas.

Vocabulario para celebrar
Cristóbal Colón Christopher Columbus
el Día Nacional National Day
la hispanidad the cultural community of Spanish speakers
la raza race

In what country or city would you like to witness the events of October 12? Explain why.

Día de la Raza Indigenous groups gather in Mexico City dressed in their community’s traditional outfits, some wearing pre-Columbian clothing and headdresses.


Día Nacional de España The Spanish government celebrates with a parade in Madrid.


Día de la Raza A woman from the Pehuenche indigenous community gathers with other indigenous groups in downtown Santiago.


Día de la Hispanidad High school students carry flags representing all the American countries as they march in a parade down Fifth Avenue.


  1.   How do you celebrate October 12 in your community or school? Is it similar to or different from the celebrations in Spanish-speaking countries? How so?
  2.   What does October 12 mean to you? Which of the Spanish names for the holiday has the most meaning for you? How would you rename the holiday to celebrate your heritage?