Why are December 6 and 8 public holidays in Spain?

by Lorraine Williamson
December 6 and 8

Spain has two public holidays this week, Tuesday 6 December, and Thursday 8 December. Both days apply in all autonomous communities, as they are two national holidays that cannot be changed.

The entire Spanish population know these dates, especially those who do not have to go to work. However, few people know the reason for these two holidays. One has religious origins. Whereas, the other is exclusively linked to the homeland and all Spaniards. 

6 December, Day of the Spanish Constitution  

Like every year, 6 December is celebrated as the Day of the Spanish Constitution. This holiday commemorates the adoption of this law, which lays down the rights and duties of all Spaniards. Hence, the Constitution was approved on 6 December 1978 and is still in force. 

The approval occurred through the publication of Royal Decree 2964/1983, of 30 November, which established the celebration and holiday of Constitution Day, ‘to celebrate the date on which the Spanish people ratified the Constitution by referendum’. 

Cogesa Expats

8 December, Day of the Immaculate Conception 

Spain celebrates Immaculate Conception (Inmaculada Concepción de María) every year on 8 December. The protagonist of this holiday is the Virgin Mary. Thus, the feast of religious origin is linked to Catholic tradition. On this date, people commemorate the conception of the Virgin, the Immaculate Conception. She was born on September 8. Calculated backwards, it means that her conception was nine months earlier, on 8 December. 

It also has a war significance, because of what happened during the Eighty Years’ War in the Battle of Empel – la batalla de Empel, between 7 and 8 December 1585. Spanish soldiers encamped on the banks of the river Meuse at Empel in The Netherlands. When one of the soldiers found an undamaged effigy of Mary, they started praying to Her. Thereafter, it began to freeze so hard that they managed to escape the State troops over the ice. All this happened on 8 December, the High festival of the Immaculate Conception of Mary. Therefore, the Spanish army declared Mary the patron saint of the Spanish infantry. Furthermore, they commemorate this ‘Milagro de Empel’ grandly every year on 8 December. 

In Which Communities Is December 7 a Non-School Day in 2023?

The holidays in the first week of December this year fall on Wednesday and Friday. Hence, Thursday, the 7th, is not a public holiday. However, many communities have designated it a non-school day. This way they provide students with a brief break before the end of the first trimester. This break often coincides with exam periods. In the following Spanish regions, December 7 is a non-school day. Consequently, most people have a five-day extended weekend, commonly known as a ‘Puente’.

  • Andalucía
  • Aragón
  • Asturias
  • Cantabria
  • Castilla-La Mancha
  • Castilla y León
  • Comunidad de Madrid
  • Comunidad Valenciana
  • Extremadura
  • Galicia
  • Islas Canarias
  • La Rioja
  • Región de Murcia
  • Navarra
  • País Vasco
  • Ceuta
  • Melilla

Also read: Rain expected during the December 6 and 8 Spanish holidays

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