Whether you are new to this tiny peninsular or you are a frequent visitor of the Rock, there is no denying the patriotism you witness from the moment those EasyJet wheels touch the tarmac – and when it comes to September 10th, it peaks to celebrate Gibraltar’s National Day!
The day honours the anniversary of Gibraltar’s first referendum of 1967 where the Gibraltarian’s decided to remain under British sovereignty rather than passing under Spanish sovereignty. 2017 marked the 50th anniversary of the referendum, meaning the National Day celebrations were not to be missed!
I packed a bag and flew over on the 6th of September to visit my friend living there. Although my trip was planned last minute, I still managed to squeeze it into the week of National Day as I was promised it would be the highlight of my holiday.
While I tried to recover from my severe post-Summer blues in a drizzly village in Northern England – my trip to Gibraltar reminded me that sometimes you just can’t beat a week of sun.
We spent countless hours snoozing on the beaches, as well as eating in the local restaurants, walking to Spain for a day of shopping in the markets, and climbed the famous ‘Med steps‘ to catch the views at the top of the Rock (see pictures below!).
By the time the 10th of September had arrived, the streets were strewn with flags and banners, and everyone had their red and white outfit prepared.
National Day itself hosts many events across the peninsula, and the banks and shops are closed as it is a public holiday (yay!). The main celebrations include music, performances and fireworks – as well as a crowd-pleasing speech from the Chief Minister of Gibraltar held at Casemates Square.
National Day morning started like many of my nights out – which was very exciting! 🙂 The girls all got ready together: makeup, hair, outfit and music playing with some drinks to start off a long day of celebrations. We then met up with the boys to drink and play games – already the day has kicked off with a good start, right?
Although we missed many of the music and dance performances to instead spend time as a group, we did want to abide by the main tradition of the Chief Ministers speech. (That and the other tradition of partying in the sun💃☀)
At around midday, we made our way down to Casemates Square to join the crowds of friends and families to listen to the Chief Minister – Fabian Picardo.
It was clear what a special day this was to everyone there – even as an outsider in the sea of proud Gibraltarian’s, the cheers and fierce community spirit certainly made me very proud to be British.
“Exactly fifty years ago today” he said, “they were marching into the polling stations. With no more than pencils and ballot papers. With only the weapons of democracy in their hands”.
“We stick with Britain – and Britain sticks with us!“.
After the speech, we squeezed from the crowds, and made our way to Monkey Rocks Festival – a big concert and dance event held at Victoria Stadium which was only a 10 minutes walk away.
We only waited in line for about twenty minutes, and once everyone’s ID’s and tickets had been checked we were in!
As the night went on, and it started to get dark, the music got louder and we ended up dancing until the early hours of the morning. With the sun shining and the summer heat, it definitely beat many of the clubs I’ve been lucky enough to experience in the UK looool 😋
My entire trip to Gibraltar – not just National Day – made me realise that while National Day’s and Independence Day’s are some of the most celebrated public holidays around the world, my home country doesn’t even have one!
It certainly won’t be my last visit to the Rock. 🇬🇮
It’s also made me even more eager to celebrate elsewhere in the world…
Do you celebrate national pride in your home country? Have you ever celebrated elsewhere? Leave a comment down below of festivals around the world I should add to my bucket list 🙂
Thank you for reading!
Till next time, Holly x
—If you liked this post please comment and share! It helps me a lot x x x