Whilst Spain is a great place to be at any time of the year there is something special about being in Spain over the Christmas period. Most people fro
Whilst Spain is a great place to be at any time of the year there is something special about being in Spain over the Christmas period. Most people from Europe that go on holiday to Spain tend to do so over the Summer months in order to enjoy the long days of sunshine and the beautiful beaches, not to mention the great food and drink that seems to be available just about anywhere in Spain.
That said a visit to Spain during the Christmas festivities offers something completely different. Not long lazy days on the beach and a swim to cool down- although along the Mediterranean coast a stroll along the beach is still a delight – but to savour the Spanish way of celebrating Christmas. It tends to be a very family orientated affair with much food and drinks consumed with family and friends.
Dia de la Inmaculada Concepción
Generally deemed to be the start of Christmas in Spain on the 8th of December.This a religious day where Catholics throughout the country celebrate the magical “conception” of Virgin Mary in the local churches. It is also when the Christmas lights are switched on and the shops display their wares for Christmas Shoppers.
Flamenco Festival Barcelona
Christmas and New Year in Barcelona isn’t as full as it is during other times of the year making it easier to book quality accommodation at better rates. There are however a few events that are well worth considering. A favourite amongst visitors and locals alike is the Flamenco Festival at the end of December. The De Cajón! Flamenco Festival brings the biggest stars of flamenco to different venues around the City of Barcelona.
La Nochebuena (Christmas Eve)
The 24th of December is the main day of festivities over the Christmas holidays in Spain. Usually, a sumptuous late-night dinner is the norm in most Spanish households with popular Spanish staples served up. At midnight gifts are generally exchanged between family members or friends.
Where most children in the world hope that Santa Claus or ‘Papa Noel’ stops by on Christmas Eve, this is not necessarily the norm for Spanish children. Instead, they must wait until January 6th when the Three Kings or ‘Los Treys Reyes’ deliver Christmas presents.
Christmas Markets in Spain
There are few things that embody the spirit of Christmas in Spain than a trip to one of the many Christmas markets. Whether you visit one of the smaller local markets to be found just about everywhere the length and breadth of the country, or one of the better known and larger markets in one of the main cities you can be sure to find a vast selection of stands with festive decorations selling sweets, chocolate and nativity figures in addition to hand-carved decorations for your tree.
Caga de Tio
Caga de Tio is a Christmas tradition popular in Catalonia. Children are entrusted to look after Tio from December 8th until Christmas Eve, during which time they make sure he is tucked into bed each night and that he is fed in the run-up to Christmas. Legend has it that the more he is fed that the more he can ‘poop’ out when encouraged to do so on Christmas Eve. On the 24th December the children are allowed to hit him with sticks whilst singing a song and having done so they lift the blanket that covers him to see how many presents have arrived.
El Gordo Lottery
Christmas in Spain would not be Christmas without the Spanish ‘El Gordo’ Lottery – a real tradition with long queues of people lined up to purchase their lottery tickets, all hoping that this could be their lucky year. The lottery is popular all year round in Spain but ‘El Gordo’ or the ‘Fat One’ as it is affectionately known is the biggest of the year. So popular is this lottery draw in Spain that it is televised and watched by millions.
Although the religious aspect of Christmas is still very much centre stage in Spain it is most definitely a time of year when locals celebrate on a grand social scale and the many traditions and culture come to the fore. No matter what city you are in during the festive period you are sure to find something unique.