Updated 7 December: Just a reminder that tomorrow Thursday is also a public holiday, for Immaculate Conception.

Original post 1 December: Two public holidays are coming up, with many offices and shops shut for the Día de la Constitución on Tuesday, 6 December, and Inmaculada Concepción on Thursday 8th. And as always with a public holiday on a Tuesday, it’s possible that some businesses will be closed on the Monday too, making a “puente” (long weekend).

The first of the two is very much a political holiday, since it’s a major marker of Spain’s transition from dictatorship to democracy. After Franco’s death, the newly and freely elected Government introduced a democratic constitution, which was approved by referendum on 6 December in 1978.

The second holiday is completely religious in nature, and celebrates Roman Catholic belief in the Virgin Mary’s own Immaculate Conception. The Church believes that although Mary was conceived normally, she was born “immaculately”, in the sense of free from original sin, the result of her divinely foreseen virgin motherhood of Jesus Christ. Her birth date is said to be 8 September, and so her immaculate conception is celebrated nine months previously, on 8 December.

These are the last two public holidays of 2016 given that Christmas Day this year falls on a Sunday. The full list of next year’s public holidays is HERE.

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