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Constitution Day: 'The Sweetest Break'

Constitution Day, December 6 has been celebrated as a Public Holiday since 1983. 

Although it's fairly clear what this day refers to, the Constitución española de 1978 (Constitution of Spain), it hasn't been celebrated as such since the Spanish Constitution was ratified, but was instead approved, five years later.

The year begins in January, that is clear, but for many it is September when it begins to count. With body and spirit renewed after the summer holidays, it's September when thousands of Spaniards review the work calendar to find out, in the remaining months of the year, what days they will be able to rest and better yet, which ones they will be able to travel to somewhere. 

The truth is that in the last quarter of the year many of the days that are considered holidays at the national level come together, such as October 12 or the non-working days associated with Christmas (December 25 and 31), but the last month of the year always starts with the possibility, some years better than others, of making one of the sweetest breaks: the December bridge or the Constitution Break. 

December 6 is marked on the calendar, and with the exception of when it takes place on a Sunday, it is an immovable holiday. 

It's one of the few national holidays that has little or nothing to do with the Catholic religion: this day, in 1978, was when the Spanish ratified the still-current Spanish Constitution, just over two years after the death of dictator Francisco Franco

A year earlier, in June 1977, Spain held what were the first democratic elections: it was the first time that all Spaniards had voted freely since the Republic, shortly before the civil war that gave way to a long dictatorship. Adolfo Suárez (UCD) was elected president of those elections, and it was at that moment when a motion was approved, drawn up by all the parliamentary groups and the Congress table, which created a constitutional commission with the task of drafting a draft Constitution.

Moscoso, the ace of the holidays

After the relevant processes, on November 3 the referendum for the approval of the created project was officially called, with a date set for December 6, 1977

The day came and the Spaniards went out to vote. Participation was 67.11% and with just 133,000 invalid votes, just over 600,000 blank votes and 1.5 million 'noes', the Constitution was approved: more than 15 million Spaniards, 91.81% of the voters, made the Spanish Constitution become a reality that day. 

It was five years later when, with Felipe González in La Moncloa, then Minister, Javier Moscoso del Prado — the man who gives his name to the 'moscosos', as the officials' holidays are known — signed, with the ratification of King Juan Carlos, the royal decree by which December 6 began to be celebrated as a holiday. It entered into force upon its publication in the Official State Gazette (BOE), where it was made clear that "on December 6 of each year, the anniversary of the ratification of the Constitution by the Spanish people, 'Constitution Day' is declared ". 

Everybody looking for the bridge

Why is it known as one of the sweetest holidays in the work calendar? This question has a simple answer: because it is very close to another holiday, also at a national level, so the possibilities of being able to 'bridge' these days together to make a decent trip viable are expanded. December 6 is added to the holiday of December 8, the day of the Immaculate Conception, the last holiday at state level before Christmas arrives. During these days millions of people take the opportunity to get to know other parts of Spain (or the world), or escape from day to day.

La Constitución, el 6 de diciembre y el puente más goloso: un festivo que se celebra desde 1983

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