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

Extremadura Day in Spain The official holiday of the Spanish autonomous community of Extremadura is celebrated annually on September 8. Extremadura Day overlaps with the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the patron saint of the autonomous community, as well as with the feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Western Christianity.

Extremadura is an autonomous community in western Spain, bordered by the autonomous communities of Castile and León, Castilla—La Mancha and Andalusia, as well as by Portugal. It consists of Spain’s two largest provinces, Badajos and Cáceres.

During the ancient Roman period, the territory of what is now Extremadura was part of Lusitania, a province that encompassed most of modern Portugal and parts of western Spain. Mérida, the present-day capital of Extremadura, was the capital of Lusitania and one of the most important cities in the Roman Empire.

After the Muslim conquest of the Iberian Peninsula, Extremadura was part of the Emirate and later Caliphate of Córdoba. Following the collapse of the caliphate, the bulk of its territory was incorporated into the Taifa of Badajoz. In the first half of the 13th century, practically all territory of Extremadura was conquered by Alfonso IX of León during the Reconquista.

During the following centuries, Extremadura was one of the poorest provinces of Spain. Because of this a lot of famous conquistadors who sought fortune overseas were Extremadurans. They included, for example, Hernán Cortés, the Pizarro brothers (Juan, Francisco, Gonzalo and Hernando), Hernando de Soto, Pedro de Alvarado, Pedro de Valdivia, Inés Suárez, Alonso de Sotomayor, Francisco de Orellana, Vasco Núñez de Balboa, etc.

The patron saint of Extremadura is Our Lady of Guadalupe (Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe). The statue of the Virgin of Guadalupe is believed to have been carved by Luke the Evangelist. According to legend, Pope Gregory I gifted it to Saint Leander, the Bishop of Seville. Following the conquest of Seville by the Moors in 712, local priests fled and buried the statue near the Guadalupe River in Extremadura.

In the early 14th century, a shepherd searching for a missing animal saw an apparition of the Virgin Mary, who ordered him to ask priests to dig out the statue. They did recover the hidden statue at the site of the apparition and built a small chapel there. In 1340, King Alfonso XI of Castile established the Monastery of Santa María de Guadalupe.

The feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe coincides with the Nativity of Mary and is also celebrated as Extremadura Day. Since it is a public holiday in Extremadura, all schools and government offices are closed on the occasion.

Extremadura Day is marked by solemn church services at the Royal Monastery of Santa María de Guadalupe and other shrines, fairs, festivals, concerts, sports competitions, street parties, picnics, and other festive events held throughout the autonomous community.

Interestingly, the autonomous community of Asturias also celebrates its official holiday on September 8, since it is also the feast day of Our Lady of Covadonga, the patroness of Asturias.

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Extremadura Day in Spain, holidays in Spain, autonomous community days in Spain, holidays in Extremadura, Our Lady of Guadalupe