Celebration of the maiden voyage of Christopher Columbus

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Palma: Today is a public holiday in Spain. It celebrates the arrival of Christopher Columbus on his first voyage to the New World aboard the Spanish ships La Santa María, La Niña and La Pinta, on the island of San Salvador, now Guanahaní, Bahamas, on October 12 1492.

The three-month trip, which aimed to find a new sea route to India, was funded by the Spanish crown under the leadership of the Catholic kings. After his arrival, Columbus still believed he had found a new route to India, and it was not clear to travelers until the Italian Américo Vespucio proposed that it was a new unexplored land.

After arriving at the first island, they reached what is now Cuba. Finally, they established the first Spanish territory of the New World on the island of Hispaniola, which today hosts the Dominican Republic and Haiti. It began a long and bloody history of colonization, to the point where it has been said that in Spanish territory the sun never sets.

Today this holiday is celebrated in most of the countries of the American continent, but with different names which range from Hispanic Day, Race Day, Day of Indigenous Peoples and Intercultural Dialogue, Columbus Day or similar. . Most of Spain takes advantage of this holiday to take a bridging day. Since October 12 is a Tuesday this year, schoolchildren and many working citizens also took Monday off and enjoyed a long weekend.

In addition, in Spain, this day also commemorates the Virgin of Pilar and the Virgin of Guadalupe, the first being the patron saint of the armed forces. Every year, a large military parade takes place in the Spanish capital, Madrid, attended by the royal family, government officials and other important political figures. It is also accompanied by many political discussions on this holiday and the state of the nation in general.

The best and most anticipated part of the military parade is the Legion Goat. The Spanish Legion is part of the Spanish Army and the Spanish Rapid Reaction Force, formed in 1920 to act as part of the Spanish Army in Africa. In Spain’s democratic era, the Legion participated in military tours of Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq.

The Legion has had many mascots, especially depending on where they were stationed. Their first in 1922 was a ram, later monkeys, wild boars, dogs and even bears became mascots. Nowadays, it’s usually the goat. It is not known why and where the Legion mascot came from. The only sure thing is that the goat is their most popular and most of Spain just waits and watches the parade to see the arrival of the goat. He is dressed in a Legion coat and hat as he dances along the sidewalk.

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Posted on: Tuesday October 12, 2021 07:50 IST

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