Holiday time! Spain set for five-day weekend

SPAIN is looking forward to two national holidays.

Next Wednesday marks Spanish Constitution Day, but in the wake of controversy surrounding Catalonian independence, the public holiday may have a different feel to other years. 

Traditionally, the day is one of national pride, with plenty of patriotic displays. 

Yet with the constitution and the national flag now widely seen as a symbol of Spanish repression in Cataluña, the anniversary could be used as an opportunity for further defiance from the region.

In early October, Catalonians voted overwhelmingly in favour of independence in an illegal referendum, which sparked ugly scenes in Barcelona. 

In the rest of Spain, most of the public spend the day quietly at home. 

December 6 marks the day Spaniards approved a new constitution in 1978, following the overthrow of General Franco, the Fascist dictator who ruled Spain for 36 years.

In the build up to next week’s 39th anniversary, schoolchildren have had extra lessons on Spanish history and politics. Each year, a small number are invited to read from the constitution in Madrid parliamentary buildings, which have a special public opening close to the anniversary.   

Another public holiday takes place next Friday, with many Spaniards taking the Thursday off to enjoy a five-day weekend. The December 8 holiday is a Catholic event, known as the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.

It is an ideal time to visit one of the many Christmas markets springing up around the country since it is typically viewed to mark the start of the festive season.

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