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IN PICTURES: Spain's National Day

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IN PICTURES: Spain's National Day
A paratrooper flies with a Spanish flag during the military parade on Spain’s National Day. Photo: OSCAR DEL POZO CANAS/AFP

October 12th is Spain’s National Day - el Día de la Hispanidad. See the best pictures from the parade in Madrid with all its military pomp, controversy and…goats.


October 12th is Spain’s ‘National Day’, known as el Día de la Hispanidad. Though somewhat controversial as its origins lay in celebrations of Christopher Columbus and Spanish imperialism, El Día de la Hispanidad has evolved over the years into a day of jolly jingoism and patriot parades.

READ ALSO: How Spain celebrates its National Day (and why not everyone is happy about it)

The biggest event on National Day in Spain is a massive military parade along Madrid’s Paseo de la Castellana – it is also Armed Forces Day.

The army, navy, air force, Guardia Civil and even the Spanish Legionnaires – who even bring with them their goat mascot –  come out in force to march along the capital’s grandest thoroughfare.


King Felipe VI, who is head of the armed forces, attends with Queen Letizia and their daughters, as well as the Prime Minister, and other leading politicians.

This year’s parade wasn’t without controversy, however, as Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez reportedly left the King waiting during the parade, and was then roundly booed and showered with shouts of ‘resign’ and ‘resignation’.

Not ideal for the Prime Minister on Spain’s national day, but the culmination of the event is always a fly-by from the Spanish Air Force acrobatics team, the Patrulla Águila.

We’ve collected some of the best pictures from the parade to give you a sense of what Spain’s Día de la Hispanidad is really like.

Horsemen of the Spanish Guardia Civil honour guard troops march. Photo: OSCAR DEL POZO CANAS/AFP
October 12th is very military-focused day, with the Spanish Legion, Army, Navy, Guardia Civil and Air Force all taking part in the parade. Often military families, or those supportive of the military or police force, take to the streets to watch the parade, and events also take place in Málaga, Huelva and Zaragoza. 
A paratrooper flies with a Spanish flag. Photo: OSCAR DEL POZO CANAS/AFP
(From L) Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, King Felipe VI of Spain, Princess Sofia of Spain and Queen Letizia of Spain. Photo: OSCAR DEL POZO CANAS/AFP
National Day is always attended by Spain’s political bigwigs and Royal Family. This year’s parade was not without political undertones, however, as Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez firstly kept the King waiting at the Plaza de Lima, breaking protocol, and was then welcomed with whistles, boos and shouts of ‘resign’ from spectators.


2022’s parade was also notable for its lack of a representative from the Spanish judiciary, notably the absence of Carlos Lesmes, who on Sunday announced his resignation as president of the General Council of the Judiciary.
The Spanish Legion’s goat takes part in the parade. Photo: OSCAR DEL POZO CANAS/AFP
As always, for many one of the highlights of the day was the Spanish Legion’s goat mascot.
Members of Spain's Legion. Photo: OSCAR DEL POZO CANAS/AFP
4,000 soldiers marched along the Paseo de la Castellana as part of the event, with 150 vehicles and 86 aircraft.


The Spanish Air Force's aerobatic demonstration team Patrulla Aguila. Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO CANAS/AFP
As is customary, the finale of the day’s proceedings was a fly-by from the Spanish Air Force acrobatics team, the Patrulla Águila, who release a stream of crimson and gold smoke to replicate Spain’s national flag across the sky.


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