Anniversary of the 'Arengo' in San Marino in 2021

Anniversary of the 'Arengo' in San Marino in 2021
The Montale, the Third Tower of San Marino Image via Deposit Photos

  How long until Anniversary of the 'Arengo'?
This holiday next takes place in 262 days.
  Dates of Anniversary of the 'Arengo' in San Marino
2022 San Marino Fri, Mar 25 National Holiday
2021 San Marino Thu, Mar 25 National Holiday
2020 San Marino Wed, Mar 25 National Holiday
2019 San Marino Mon, Mar 25 National Holiday
2018 San Marino Sun, Mar 25 National Holiday
  Summary
Commemorates the events of March 25th 1906 which led to a Parliament elected directly by the people.

When is the Anniversary of the 'Arengo'?

The Anniversary of the 'Arengo' is a public holiday observed in San Marino on March 25th each year.

This holiday commemorates the events on this day in 1906 which led to the first-ever parliament elected directly by the people.

History of the Anniversary of the 'Arengo'

When you are the smallest republic in the world and the world's oldest surviving sovereign state, uniqueness seems like a given in San Marino. Formed at the start of the 4th century, true to form, the country took a different approach to government than the surrounding nations and city-states. Rather than be ruled by a monarch, from the 5th century until the middle of the 13th century, San Marino was ruled by an assembly of the heads of the important families in the nation. This was called the Arengo (Italian for "meeting") and had no leader or even a fixed meeting place.

Needless to say, results were mixed, with political feuds between the families commonplace. By 1243, the people of San Marino had had enough and the Pope made a replacement elected assembly, the Grand and General Council the supreme body of San Marino, kicking the Arengo into the long grass.

The members of the council were appointed for life rather than having to be elected on a regular basis, effectively creating an oligarchy where power was given without accountability to a few individuals. Needless to say, results were mixed.

After three centuries of rule by the council, the Sammarinese Socialist Party was calling for democratic rule in the country. 

An "Arengo" was summoned on March 25th 1906, when the citizens were asked whether the system of co-option of councillors for life should continue and whether the size of councils should be proportionate to the population of the communities they represented.

The first proposal was rejected by 90.65% of voters and the second was approved by 94.89%. This led to the first-ever democratic elections in the country being held on June 10th 1906.

Despite our slightly tongue-in-cheek history of this holiday, It is interesting to note that San Marino thrived for 13 centuries under two forms of government that seem less than optimal to modern-eyes. Maybe this says that the rule of government is not as important as the willingness of the citizens to embrace their nationhood.

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