By Claire Gordon •
Published: 03 Dec 2021 • 15:30
December is upon us and for those new to Spain, it can take some time to adjust to the many differences in celebrations that the country has at this time. The beginning of the Christmas Spanish holidays comes up next week, as Monday 6 December marks a red day (bank holiday) and many people’s idea of the festive season begins.
December 6th is known as Constitution Day. Constitution Day (Día de la Constitución) marks the anniversary of a referendum held in Spain on December 6, 1978. In this referendum, a new constitution was approved and this was an important step in Spain’s transition to becoming a constitutional monarchy and democracy.
Franco was head of state in Spain from April 1, 1939, until November 20, 1975. After he died, Spain needed a new constitution and political system and elections were held on June 15, 1977. After a new parliament was formed, a new constitution was drawn up and approved by 88 percent of the people of Spain in a referendum on December 6, 1978. So as a transition from a dictatorship to modern day Spain, it is a fairly important anniversary. It is generally celebrated by people with a quiet relaxing day at home with family and many shops being closed for the day.
December 8 is a national Holy Day and another of the Spanish holidays, and it marks the Day of Obligation of the Immaculate Inception of Mary (La Inmaculada Concepción de la Virgen María). Pope Pius IX gave a statement in 1853 confirming the importance of the Immaculate Conception to the Catholic Church and he did this on the 8th December. The actual conception of Jesus is celebrated on the 25th March, but the feast celebrates that God chose Mary to be His mother. Many Christians and Catholics attend special church services on this day and it is a national bank holiday in many countries, but not in the UK, so it can come as a surprise to many new expats.
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