Move over Christopher Columbus, October 12th is not just for you. Primarily, people in South America celebrate Día de la Raza, also known as the Day of the Races.
Even today, people love to celebrate it and revel in their culture and heritage.
What is Día de la Raza?
This special holiday a celebration of the Hispanic heritage of Latin America and everything that makes it unique. It’s celebrated in Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Honduras, Mexico, Uruguay, and Venezuela.
The first instance of celebrating Día de la Raza was in Mexico 1917 and it was officially commemorated in 1928.
Not Celebrating Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus went on an adventure after hearing the Earth was round instead of flat. The goal was to find a new route to China or the West Indies.
He went off the trail and ended up on one of the islands known as the Bahamas. Then he went to Cuba and Hispaniola, which is now the Dominican Republic and Haiti.
Because of his adventure, he got royal approval to go back out again. He went out in 1493 with 17 ships and followed the same path.
This time he went to Puerto Rico and the Leeward Islands. He founded a colony on Hispaniola. He returned home and then made a 3rd journey to the New World in 1498, where he explored the coast of Venezuela.
Instead of celebrating Columbus, many people celebrate the people who came after him, such as the people who were open to indigenous cultures and created a multi-cultural society.
It’s also a way to memorialize all the people who lost their lives due to Columbus’ violence. In Hispaniola 1492, the population of 300,000 was brought down to 60,000 by 1508. Sadly, this includes those who took their own life to escape Columbus’ cruelty.
By 1548, there were only 500 people left.
Different Names for This Holiday
Some people don’t prefer the name of this holiday. The name the Day of Races has a separatist tone to it and doesn’t have a celebratory tone to it.
Either way, some people feel like the name is outdated.
The United Nations calls it Spanish Language Day. Spain used to have the name be Día de la Hispanidad, meaning Hispanicity Day. Now, it’s Fiesta Nacional de Espana, Spain National Day.
Mexico prefers Día de la Resistencia Indigena, meaning Day of Indigenous Resistance.
Peru, Costa Rica, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Bolivia, and Ecuador all have their own names for this holiday as well.
Each of these countries has their own relationship to the history that created this holiday. Does your family have a preferred name for this holiday?
How Do People Celebrate It?
The celebration of this annual holiday varies from parades, dances, and food. Some special foods prepared are Tamales made of cornmeal dough wrapped and cooked with corn and other vegetables.
Another holiday favorite food is the Trinidad pastille; a variety of meats and seasons wrapped and cooked in a banana leaf. Many authentic Mexican restaurants serve these, and of course, you’ll also find these amazing foods at your local gathering!
In larger communities that celebrate this holiday, you may find big fiestas that include singing, dancing, or even bullfights!
In the streets during the festivals, you can find many people enjoying the day with various activities. People play games, dance with streamers, or hang piñatas for children to enjoy. People also wear colorful costumes and even some from the pre-Columbus age.
Why This Holiday Matters
This holiday matters because it keeps traditions alive. In the past, it was a way for people to come together and feel less lonely. Now in the present, it’s a way to prove that this heritage still exists. It’s a great way to celebrate Hispanic heritage, share it with people of other cultures, and to keep traditions alive for years to come!
Celebrate Día de la Raza at an Authentic Mexican Restaurant LIke benito’s!
Some people find that celebrating a holiday is frivolous, but that shouldn’t be the case with this holiday! It’s a great way to honor ancestors and people who fought to be recognized.
For people in the U.S., it may be hard to feel connected. A great way to celebrate is to go to an authentic Mexican restaurant like Benito’s Authentic Mexican Food for traditional food and fun. Celebrate with us at Benito’s this October 12th, where you will experience the best Mexican restaurant in Fort Worth!