EXPLAINER: Why December 6 is a very important holiday for Spain

CONSTITUTION Day is a bank holiday across Spain every December 6 and marks the anniversary of the referendum which approved a new constitution for the country.

On December 6, 1978 voters went to the polls to back a crucial step in Spain’s transition to democracy following the death of dictator General Francisco Franco in 1975.

They voted heavily in favour with 88% saying ‘yes’.

Prior to the 1978 referendum, a general election was held in June 1977 with the newly-formed parliament(Congress) drawing up the constitution.

It was the country’s second fully democratic constitution following the 1931 document which established the Second Republic before Franco swept aside after being victorious in the Civil War.

The constitution is enforced by laws to regulate over 180 articles and provisions in it.

For example, in 1979, the government passed 45 new laws, as democracy quickly hit the ground running.

In 44 years, the constitution has only been amended twice- to stabilise the national budget and to regulate voting within the European Union.

An original copy of the document, signed by King Juan Carlos I, is kept in the Congress building in Spain.

The timing of Constitution Day means that Spain gets two bank holidays within three days, with December 8 celebrated as the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.

What normally happens is that people take December 7 off as well to give themselves a longer break in what is known as a puente(bridge).

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