In the build up to Christmas, residents of Spain find their working week disrupted once again. There are not one but two national holidays in Spain this week. Dia de la Constitucion (Constitution day) , celebrated on December 6th and Dia de la Inmaculada Concepcion (Immaculate Conception), on December 8th.
Is there a reason for these two National holidays or just another excuse? Actually ,these two dates are important holidays …
So, what is Constitution Day in Spain?
Constitution Day is a national holiday in honour of the constitution of Spain. The Spanish Constitution is the basis for the Law in Spain.
A little bit of History …
1812 marked the start of Spain’s constitutional history. If you would like further details on the different Spanish constitutional laws, there is a very easy to read table here here .
Generally, Spain has been run in the form of a Monarchy. The dictatorship period of Francisco Franco from 1938 to 1978 is possibly Spain’s most notorious period.
Following the death of the dictator Franco in 1975, and a general election in 1977, the Spanish Parliament drafted and approved the new “Constitution” which marked the transition from Dictatorship back to Monarchy and a Democracy. The 1978 Constitution was the first in Spanish constitutional history not to grant emergency power to the Head of State.
Los Padres de la Constitucion, (the Fathers of the constitution), is the name given to the seven members of a panel chosen to work on the draft of the Constitution. These members represented a wide, and often divided, political spectrum within the Spanish parliament.
The Constitution was approved by the Spanish Parliament 31st October 1978 and supported by 88% of the Spanish people who voted in a referendum on 6th December 1978.
The Constitution came into effect on 29th December 1978. Since that date, 6th December has been recognised as a National Holiday in Spain .
On 8 December, many countries including Argentina, Austria, Chile, Colombia, Italy, Malta, Portugal and Spain celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.
History of Immaculate Conception
It is a day that celebrates the belief that Mary, mother of Jesus, was preserved from original sin all of her life.
For Roman Catholics, it is observed as a day of obligation with required church attendance.
The Immaculate Conception is a Holy Day of Obligation whose meaning is often confused.
By the sounds of it, one would think we would celebrate the day Jesus was conceived. On the contrary, it is the day that the Blessed Mother Mary was conceived.
Mary’s mother was St. Anne and her father was Joachim. While they are not mentioned in the bible, their names appear in some very early Christian texts. Anne and Joachim had been a childless couple until an angel appeared telling Anne that she would give birth to a child that the world would honour. Anne became a saint as she offered her child to god’s service.
This day has been celebrated since at least the eighth century, but the idea that the word immaculate means that Mary was born without original sin divided many theological scholars over the centuries. It wasn’t until 1854 that the argument was decided when Pope Pious IX proclaimed this belief to be an essential dogma of the Roman Catholic Church.