The Day of Asturias, or Asturias Regional Holiday, is a public holiday in the Asturias autonomous community of northern Spain. The date for the holiday is 8 September, which is also thought to be the birthday of the Virgin Mary. This has been a holiday in Asturias since the year 1984.
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Most businesses close down on 8 September in Asturias, although some bakeries tend to remain open. Public transport runs on an alternate schedule or is cancelled, but conversely, traffic jams may develop as people throng to attend large Asturias Day events.
To celebrate the day, many in Asturias will go to church for special masses honouring the Virgin Mary. Mary is sometimes called the Virgin of Covadonga in Asturias, and many attend services at the church in Covadonga on this day. This is because of the victory of Christian forces over the Muslim Moors in the Battle of Covadonga in A.D. 722. The victory was credited to a statue of Mary that the soldiers put in a cave near the town of Covadonga.
There are also sports events, street parties, family and community meals, food tasting at food stalls, and patriotic displays of the Asturian flag.
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