Spaniards celebrate Christmas by having meals together, giving presents and lighting up spectacular decorations around city centers. However, many traditions are unique to their culture. What do Spaniards celebrate at Christmas time?
Christmas Eve is called Nochebuena. In the evening, people go home to enjoy a meal with the family. Prawn starters followed by roast lamb would be a typical meal rounded off with a typically Christmas dessert called turrón which is a nougat made of sweet toasted almonds. Most families eat their main Christmas meal on Christmas Eve before Mass. There’s a famous service held in Mallorca called “Misa del Gallo”.
Children may receive a small gift on Nochebuena or on the morning of Christmas Day but the day for presents is 6th January, when the Three Kings bring gifts for the children. On this day, people start celebrating the holidays: ¡Feliz Navidad! In Catalan it’s ‘Bon Nadal‘; in Galician ‘Bo Nadal’; and in Basque (or Euskara in basque) ‘Eguberri on‘. Be prepared to travel around Spain at Christmas!
This is the day of Santos Inocentes (Holy Innocents) and is the equivalent of April Fools’ Day when people play practical jokes on one another.
New Year’s Eve is known as Nochevieja. Until midnight people stay at home and at midnight it is traditional to eat 12 grapes, one on each stroke of the clock to bring good luck for the New Year. In Madrid, people congregate in the main square (Puerta del Sol in Madrid), if you eat the twelve grapes, you are said to be lucky for the new year.
There are processions all over Spain in the evening. The Three Kings have come! Sweets are thrown from floats to all the children in the streets. There are as many processions as cities in Spain, and each one is special but, sincerely, we think that going to Sierra Nevada to see the Three Kings skiing down to the village, is amazing!
This is the most important day of the year, when children wake up to find that the Three Wise Men have left gifts for them in their house.
Do not hesitate to taste the Jijona’s turrón, the most famous turrón in Spain, or to buy a national lottery ticket at “Doña Manolita” shop, in Madrid. Better yet, why don’t you ask Cititravel to put you together a trip to Spain at Christmas time and prepare to enjoy these magical traditions?