Asturias Day in Spain Date in the current year: September 8, 2024

Asturias Day in Spain The official holiday of the Spanish autonomous community of Asturias is celebrated annually on September 8. Asturias Day coincides with the feast day of Our Lady of Covadonga, the patroness of Asturias, as well as with the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Asturias (officially the Principality of Asturias) is an autonomous community in northwest Spain, bordered by Cantabria, Castile and León, and Galicia. It is coextensive with the province of Asturias. The most important cities of the autonomous community are Oviedo, Gijón, and Avilés.

Asturias was originally inhabited by a Hispano-Celtic tribe named the Astures. It was conquered by the Romans during the reign of Emperor Augustus. After the fall of the Roman Empire, the region was invaded by Germanic tribes and then by the Moors. However, the mountainous part of the region was hard to conquer, so the lands along the northern coast of Spain were never controlled by the Moors.

This region became a refuge for Christian nobles, who established the de facto independent Kingdom of Asturias in 722, which was instrumental in the Reconquista. It was succeeded by the Kingdom of León in 910 that, in turn, was joined to the kingdom of Castile in 1230. The Principality of Asturias was established as a result of the rebellion of Henry II.

After the unification of Castile and Aragon, Asturias became a province of Spain. Following the adoption of the 1978 constitution, it was transformed into an autonomous community. The Statute of Autonomy of Asturias was adopted on December 30, 1981 and came into force in 1982.

The patroness of Asturias is Our Lady of Covadonga. Covadonga is a municipality named after a valley of the same name, where Christians defeated the Arab invaders for the first time in the early 8th century. The Asturian victory in the Battle of Covadonga is regarded as the initial point of the Reconquista.

According to legend, Pelagius, the leader of the Christian army and future founder of Asturias, and his people retreated to a cave where a hermit had hidden a statue of the Virgin Mary to protect it from the Moors during the Muslim conquest. He prayed to her for victory. When Pelagius won the Battle of Covadonga, he credited the intercession of the Virgin Mary for this victory.

King Alfonso I of Asturias ordered to build a chapel and monastery next to the cave. The shrine was destroyed by fire in 1777 and then rebuilt. In the early 20th century, it was replaced by the Basílica de Santa María la Real de Covadonga. The cave itself is known as the Santa Cueva de Nuestra Señora de Covadonga or simply the Santa Cueva de Covadonga.

The feast day of Our Lady of Covadonga coincides with the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary and is also regarded as the official holiday of the autonomous community of Asturia. It is marked by solemn services held in the Basílica de Santa María la Real de Covadonga and the Cathedral of San Salvador in Oviedo, as well as street fairs and parties, concerts, festivals, sports competitions, and other festive events.

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Asturias Day in Spain, holidays in Spain, autonomous community days in Spain, Our Lady of Covadonga