Christmas in Spain - Guide to Christmas in Spain traditions at Christmas in
Christmas in Spain is
not as huge a commercial occasion as is the case in many other western cities.
lights are usually lit in the main cities in the first week of December by
which time the shops are fully stocked with Christmas supplies. Nothing like
where the end of summer marks the build up to Christmas.
Most homes have a manger, like cathedrals and churches. These are complete with
carved figures Christmas is a deeply religious holiday in
Spain. The country's patron saint is the Virgin Mary. However Christmas in Spain
is full of the usual Christmas festivities.
8th December - Christmas in Spain officially begins with
the feast of the Immaculate Conception.
22nd December - All over Spain people never stray far from a TV or radio as
the Christmas lottery is drawn over a period of many hours. Everybody in Spain
buys tickets for this lottery in the hope of winning El Gordo (the fat one)
24th December - Christmas Eve is called Nochebuena in Spanish
(Goodnight) and it is the most important family gathering of the year. In the
often meet early for a few drinks with friends then return home to enjoy a
meal with the family. Many bars and restaurants close in the evening. Prawn
starters followed by roast lamb would be a typical meal rounded off with a
typically Christmas sweet called turrón which is a nougat made of toasted
sweet almonds. Another typical festive sweet is called Polvorones which is
made from almonds, flour and sugar. Cava, Catalan champagne, would be the chosen
drink for the Christmas toast though plenty fine Spanish wines will also be
consumed with the meal.
25th December - Children may receive a small gift on Nochebuena
but the day for presents is 6th January, Epiphany, when the
Three Kings bring
gifts for the children. Christmas Day is a national holiday in Spain so shops
are closed. A large family meal at lunchtime is common though it's becoming
more common to see families eating out on the afternoon of Christmas day.
31st December - New Year's Eve is known as NocheVieja. It is a big celebration
all over the country with street parties and special nights in hotels and clubs
everywhere. Until midnight people tend to stay at home and on the stroke of
midnight it is traditional to eat 12 grapes, one on each stroke of the clock
to bring good luck for the new year.
1st January - A low key public holiday.
5th January - There are processions all over Spain this evening where sweets
are thrown from the floats to all the people who come out to watch.
6th January - This is the Feast of the Epiphany when the Three Kings arrived
in Bethlehem. For Spanish children this is the most important day of the year
when they wake up to find that Los Reyes Magos (the Three Kings) have left
gifts for them in their house.