¡Viva La Pepa!

Have ever hear the expression “¡Viva la Pepa!”?  Where does it come from?

On 19th of March 2012 we will celebrate the two-hundredth anniversary of “La Pepa” which was the first Spanish Constitution to establish popular sovereignty, the separation of powers, the freedom of expression and freedom of press.  This is the reason why today, many people associate the first Spanish Constitution with the birth in Spain of liberty, civil rights, the concept of citizenship and modern Spain. It soon became a true symbol of democracy.

It was almost two hundred years ago at the Oratorio San Felipe Neri building in Cadiz, that the constitution was signed.  During this period Spain was under occupation of Napoleon's troops.  The day coincided with the celebration of San José (Saint Joseph's Day). Hence the name "La Pepa" since anyone with the name "José" in Spanish is familiarly known as "Pepe", and the female name Josephine known as “Pepa”.

The “Viva La Pepa” became the shout used by Spanish liberals (those in favour of liberty) during many subversive political periods.  We can say that the phrase came to replace:

Long live the Constitution of Cadiz!

Plans have been made to hold numerous commemorative, cultural and academic events in the city of Cadiz throughout 2012, so it’s another fantastic reason to visit this wonderful city.

Over time, this popular expression has changed its meaning. Currently, it has a sense of ease and fun, and applies to those people with untroubled and cheerful character.

¡Viva La Pepa!  ¡Viva!


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