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Day of Asturias observed in Spain

The Day of Asturias (Día de Asturias) is a public holiday in the autonomous community of Asturias in Spain on September 8 each year. It marks the birth of the Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus.

Is Day of Asturias observed a Public Holiday?

Day of Asturias observed is a public holiday in Asturias, where it is a day off for the general population, and schools and most businesses are closed.

Basilica de Covadonga, Cantabria, northern Spain.

©iStockphoto.com/elgol

What Do People Do?

Some people attend special church services to honor the Virgin of Covadonga. The services in and around the village of Covadonga and in the Cathedral of San Salvador in Oviedo are particularly popular. Various local events are also held. These include:

  • Sports competitions.
  • Street parties.
  • Tastings of traditional Asturian foods and drinks, such as seafood dishes, a rich bean stew (fabada asturiana) and apple cider (sidra). 
  • Communal meals. 

Asturias' flag is widely displayed during this time of the year.

Public Life

The Day of Asturias is a public holiday in the autonomous community of Asturias on September 8. Public life is generally quiet. Many businesses and other organizations are closed. Many stores are closed but some bakers and food stores may be open. Public transport services generally run to a reduced schedule but there may be no services in rural areas. Large events may cause some local disruption to traffic, particularly in town and village centers.

Regional or local authorities may move the public holiday to a different date, particularly if September 8 falls on a Sunday. If September 8 falls on a Tuesday or Thursday, many businesses and organizations are also closed on Monday, September 7, or Friday, September 10. September 8 is not a public holiday in other parts of Spain, except in Extremadura where the Day of Extremadura is a public holiday.

Background

The Moors gained control of the Asturian region in the year 711 CE. The Battle of Covadonga was the next major Christian victory in Iberia. It is thought that this battle occurred around the year 722 CE. The Christian troops attributed their successes in this battle to a statue of the Virgin Mary that they had placed in a cave near the village of Covadonga.

The law declaring September 8 to be the Day of Asturias was enacted on June 28, 1984. This date was chosen as it is the day on which the birth of Mary is traditionally celebrated. The public holiday was first observed on September 8, 1984.

Symbols

The Virgin of Covadonga is a statue of the Virgin Mary in a chapel in a cave. The cave is close to the village of Covadonga in the autonomous community of Asturias. The Virgin of Covadonga is also the patron saint of Asturias. The statue, chapel and cave in Covadonga are important symbols of the Day of Asturias.

The wooden Victory Cross is also an important symbol of the principality and Day of Asturias. King Pelagius of Asturias carried it into the Battle of Covadonga. King Alfonso III of León ordered that it was covered with gold and precious stones in 908 CE. The Victory Cross is now in the the Cathedral of San Salvador in the city of Oviedo. It is depicted in yellow on a blue background on the flag and coat of arms of the autonomous community of Asturias.

Day of Asturias observed Observances

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday TypeArea
2019MonSep 9Day of Asturias observedLocal holidayAsturias
2024MonSep 9Day of Asturias observedLocal holidayAsturias

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