Observed annually on January 2nd in Grenada, Reconquest Day is a provincial public holiday that commemorates the end of the Spanish Reconquest of Spain. It is a public holiday in this province but not in the rest of Spain. As a provincial public holiday, it is a non-working day, and a day when schools, businesses, and government offices are closed.
In Spain, each province gets to observe two holidays, in addition to national holidays and the holidays of the Autonomous Community. This day is observed with a number of events that include parades, speeches, and official ceremonies. There are also concerts, sporting events, and other public events.
The History of the Reconquest of Spain
The city of Granada was a Moorish fortress that became an extremely important location during the 11th century under the reign of Sultan Almoravid. The Christian Reconquest would force Spanish Muslims to the south, and the Kingdom of Granada was established as the last refuge of Moorish civilization.
Over the next two centuries, Granada flourished economically, socially, and culturally. However, that would come to an end in the late 15th century when internal feuds strengthened the position of the Spanish Monarchy under Ferdinand and Isabella.
On January 2nd, 1492, King Boabdil surrendered Granada to Spanish forces, and in 1502, the Spanish Crown decreed that all Muslims were to be forcibly converted to Christianity. Over the next 100 years, there were numerous persecutions of Muslims in Spain, and by 1609, the last Moors who were still observant of Islam were expelled from Spain.
Observing Reconquest Day in Spain
This holiday is observed as a public holiday in Grenada and is marked by a variety of public and official events. Not only are there commemorative ceremonies, but there are also sporting events, competitions, and parades.
Over the past few years, there has been some controversy associated with this holiday as some racist and xenophobic groups have tried to use the holiday to attack immigrants and the Muslim population, but those events are not widespread and are not indicative of the general atmosphere of this holiday.