Andalucia Day, a public holiday

Flag of Andalucia in the foreground Credit: Elliott Brown flickr

February 28 marks the day of the referendum that gave full autonomy to the Andalucian community in 1980 and is a public holiday in the region.

Story behind the flag

The Andalucian coat of arms features Hercules calmly stroking two lions, between the Pillars of Hercules.

According to Roman legends, Hercules was on his way to the garden of Hesperides and used his superhuman strength to smash the mountain of Atlas in two, creating the Strait of Gibraltar.

In the Spanish law which defines the anthem and shield of Andalucia, it suggests that Hercules represents the ‘eternal youthful force’ of the human spirit, and the two lions represent the pacification of our powerful animal instincts.

Depending on what day of the week that February 28 falls on, the holiday, known in Spanish as Día de Andalucía may be extended to bridge the weekend or moved if it falls on a weekend. While these may not be official holidays, many businesses and shops may close on these days and schools across the Province are closed from one to five days.

With more than eight million inhabitants, Andalucía is the largest autonomous community in terms of population and the second-largest in area and the Andalucian autonomous community is officially recognised as a nationality within Spain.

Celebrating the day

To mark Andalucia Day, many towns are decorated with the flag of Andalucía, and green and white bunting is a common sight competitions and musical events are often held in conjunction with the day and many families get together to celebrate over lunch.

The word Andalucia derives from Vandalucia, the ‘land of the Vandals’, referring to the notoriously destructive German tribe that settled in the area during the 3rd and 4th centuries AD.

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Written by

John Smith

Married to Ophelia in Gibraltar in 1978, John has spent much of his life travelling on security print and minting business and visited every continent except Antarctica. Having retired several years ago, the couple moved to their house in Estepona and John became a regular news writer for the EWN Media Group taking particular interest in Finance, Gibraltar and Costa del Sol Social Scene. Currently he is acting as Editorial Consultant for the paper helping to shape its future development. Share your story with us by emailing, by calling +34 951 38 61 61 or by messaging our Facebook page


    • Andrew Cremona

      29 February 2024 • 10:45

      It’s always fantastic to learn something new about the most excellent country and region you live in. Thank you John, very enjoyable read.

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