For anyone living and working in Argentina, it’s a well known fact that this country is chalk-full of national holidays. From typical holiday favorites such as Veterans day to days-off for Christmas, and even including a typical Brazilian favorite – Carnival – national holidays in Argentina pop up all over the year. For the workaholics, this could mean another setting your alarm clock a little bit later, for families, this could mean a day at home with the kids, and for youth, it’s a night out on the town. No matter what your occupation of home life, national holidays in Argentina are almost always welcome.
In November, Argentines celebrate Dia de la Soberania aka Day of National Sovereignty. This national holiday is celebrated on the fourth Monday of November. It is the anniversary of the 1845 Battle of Vuelta de Obligado against the Anglo-French blockade of the Río de la Plata. It started when a small Argentine army stood against an Anglo-French navy that had broken into the Paraná River, against the will of the Argentine Confederation. While the battle resulted in a defeat for Argentina, their blockade did enough to have a severe impact on the losses of Britain and France troops. Both the British and the French military campaign’s casualties were so high that both countries were forced to bring a treaty to the bargaining table.
For many who are aware of British-Argentine tensions (I’m namely referring to the Maldives), this day has been monumental in Argentine history. Although in the end it resulted in defeat, the win couldn’t have been more obvious, as European forces retreated leaving Rio de la Plata to their rightful Argentine owners.
Stemming from a nationwide feeling of importance, this battle was first commemorated by José María Rosa. She was the first one to make reference to November 20 as a national holiday in Argentina in 1950 during the second administration of Juan Domingo Perón. While the Peron administration didn’t do much about it then, in 1974, Dia de la Soberania became a national observance.
Still not satisfied, in 2010, this day became an official national holiday in Argentina – maybe the ultimate win of this battle. 2010 was also the year of Argentina’s bicentennial, and President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner lead a movement to support and improve recognition of Argentine historical revisionism. Amongst Dia de la Soberania, Kirchner increased the number of other national holidays in Argentina. In regards to Nov. 20, Kirchner pushed for Dia de la Soberania to became a national holiday in Argentina, instead of just an observance.
While Dia de la Soberania has yet to become a national holiday where Argentines can stay in their homes for the day, it’s gaining momentum as discussion is running high on the topic of national holidays in Argentina in the year 2015. Stick around for another few years, and you’ll probably see Nov. 20 become an official national holiday and complete feriado.
In the meantime, for all Argies and expats living in this beloved country, you can start looking forward to the next feriado(s) coming up in December!
Written by Hillary Skeffington