Happy Constitution Day, Spain!
Every 6 December the Spanish celebrate their Constitution Day or Día de la Constitución. The holiday marks an important anniversary, namely – the conducting of a referendum in 1978. The procedure approved the new foundational document of the country and is considered a key step in Spain’s transition to democracy and the establishment of the constitutional monarchy.
This is a public holiday – children can stay at home, while their parents are also exempt from work for the day. Therefore, 6th December is the perfect opportunity to spend the day with your family. Before that however, on the day prior to Constitution Day, children are given additional lessons on the history and politics of Spain and on the importance of the holiday. In addition, high school students are invited to read the country’s constitution in the Spanish Parliament in Madrid where a celebration is held on the following day.
The non-working day on the occasion of the national holiday can be moved to another day if the 6th happens to be on a Saturday or a Sunday.
Why a new constitution of Spain?
The new constitution was supposed to mark a new period in the democratic development of Spain a few years after the end of the decades-long dictatorship of Francisco Franco – from 1939 to 1975. His death was followed by general elections in 1977 and the election of a new parliament – the Cortes Generales, that were tasked with the writing of the new constitution. The document was later approved by the Spanish population through a referendum – 88% of voters voted in favour of the proposed changes. The new constitution was ultimately promulgated by King Juan Carlos on December 27th. The document sets the basis for the country’s government system and the division of powers.