Ceuta Day is celebrated on September 2 every year. Also known as ‘Dia de Ceuta,’ this holiday is the independence day celebration of the Spanish autonomous city of Ceuta, Spain. And to celebrate, people usually spend their time quietly at home or join festivities in the streets. As a public holiday, most commercial establishments, businesses, and government officers are closed during this day. Unlike most public holidays, the celebration of Ceuta Day is usually calm, quiet, and peaceful. However, some people seize this day as an opportunity to rally at the Morocco-Spain border to express their feelings about Spain’s control over the city.
History of Ceuta Day
Situated on the north coast of Africa in the kingdom of Morocco, Ceuta has become a significant city on the Strait of Gibraltar. Its location and lack of proper governance during its early days made it easy for foreign settlers to colonize the city whenever they sailed between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic. In fact, the city has passed through several colonies, including the Carthaginians, the Byzantine Empire, and the Romans. By the 8th century, Ceuta fell under Muslim control. Its rich and long history is the reason that modern-day Ceuta is a melting pot of multiple cultures and traditions.
The origin of Ceuta Day dates back to August 14, 1415, when Portugal’s King John I colonized the city of Ceuta. Known as the Conquest of Ceuta, this expedition was effortless because of the king’s solid subordinates of soldiers. But the king left on September 2, roughly three weeks after his initial conquest, and handed the city’s control to Pedro de Menezes, the Count of Viana de Alentejo. This vanquishment was initially celebrated on August 22, 1415; however, Portugal followed the Gregorian Calendar, pushing the official Ceuta Day to September 2.
Later on, they used the flag of Lisbon as Ceuta’s official flag. The modern-day flag of the city still has the coat of arms of the Portuguese flag at the center of the design. Over the next several centuries, Spain and Portugal fought over Ceuta. On January 1, 1668, the city was surrendered to Spain’s King Carlos II under the Treaty of Lisbon.
Ceuta Day timeline
The city of Ceuta falls under Muslim control.
King John I of Portugal colonizes Ceuta.
King John I passes the city’s control to Pedro de Menezes, marking Ceuta’s independence.
Ceuta is surrendered to King Carlos II of Spain after the Treaty of Lisbon.
Ceuta Day FAQs
What is the currency of Ceuta?
Since Ceuta is part of the European Union, its monetary unit is Euros.
Does Ceuta have an airport?
Ceuta has a small airport called Ceuta Heliport, used for domestic flights only.
What is Ceuta known for?
Ceuta is one of only two Spanish port cities (along with Melilla) located on the north coast of Africa.
How to Observe Ceuta Day
Retreat at home
Since most commercial establishments are closed on this day, most people opt to stay at home. It’s the perfect opportunity to reconnect with yourself, meditate, and enjoy a peaceful time away from everyone.
Cook your favorite Spanish food
Celebrate this day by spending time in the kitchen. Some people use this as an opportunity to cook a sumptuous meal for their entire family. Some local markets are still open on this day, so you’ll have the chance to buy fresh seafood for your family to enjoy.
Go for a picnic
While Ceuta Day is usually spent peacefully at home, some families go to the park and have picnics and private parties. Others pack up the flag and have it on display during these small events.
5 Interesting Facts About Ceuta
Its population of 82,000 people is composed of Christians, ethnic Sindhi Hindus, Muslims, and Sherpedic Jews.
The city has strict borders
Ceuta is surrounded by 20ft-high double fences, and the city’s only entrance and exit are the two checkpoints.
A port city
Ceuta is a port city, with a size of 7.1 square miles.
The official language of Ceuta
While many people speak French, Berber, and Moroccan Arabic, the official language of Ceuta is Spanish.
An important bird area
BirdLife International recognizes Ceuta as an Important Bird Area (I.B.A.) due to the number of bird species that flock in the city.
Why Ceuta Day is Important
It has a rich history
Ceuta Day gives us the chance to appreciate the city’s long and rich history. It also helps us to appreciate the city’s diversity and multiculturalism.
We love a peaceful time at home
Nothing beats quiet downtime at home, away from the jarring noise of the crowds. Ceuta Day allows people to take a much-needed rest from their busy schedules.
We love to eat seafood
Ceuta is a treasure trove of Mediterranean and Atlantic seafood. This day gives the locals the chance to spend a day cooking sumptuous meals for the entire family to share. From rainbow trout to halibut, these fishes are impeccably world-class.
Ceuta Day dates