On the next 12th of October, more than 550 million Spanish-speakers are called upon to celebrate Hispanic Day here in Spain. The date has had (and has) its particular essense since each one of the countries that can consider themselves part of the Hispanic world pays homage in their own way: from those who don’t even include it in their calendar, to those who do celebrate on a big scale, whatever the name its given.
For those of us who maintain a tight relationship with learning and teaching Spanish, the celebration or simple acknowledgement of this day is kept separate from any political intention. It is more symbolic of what cann now unite us from what could or can put distance between us. Certainly recognizing how Spanish offers a bridge between the two Atlantic shores is a day worth celebrating.
And even though a day to celebrate the Spanish language in the world already exists in the calendar of the auspicious Cervantes Institute, the notion of the Hispanic seems to encompass more and be more inclusive.
No one could possibly have imagined that the name Hispania which the Romans in the second century before Christ gave to the territory called Iberia by the Greeks would twenty-two centuries later become a term derived from the same name to celebrate the union among so many millions who share not only a language, but a culture and spirit as well.
Following the footprints of Seville is not especially difficult, as the city has always had a seagoing and maritime calling, and has shown itself to have a particularly Westernly gaze.
For those who would like to know more about the time spent here by Christopher Columbus and his remains in the city, the Monastery of Santa Maria de las Cuevas, the Cathedral and the Reales Alcazares provide a valuable source of information.
Here, hidden among the foliage and flanking its paths, we encounter numerous pavilions erected for the Iberoamerican Exhibition of 1929: Chile, Uruguay, Mexico, Peru, Colombia, etc., are living reminders, not only of what happened in the city one hundred years ago, but what continues to unite us as well.