Christmas in Spain

Christmas is just around the corner and whole Spain is getting prepared already. This special event is celebrated whole over the world. Especially in Spain it is a very important holiday, due to their religious attitude. More than 70% of the inhabitants of the country are Roman-Catholic and mainly elderly people are highly religious. Therefore, Christmas in Spain has a long history and is always a special time of the year.

Source: Madrid Easy
Typical rituals and tradition
Christmas has a long history in Spain and therefore inhabitants have various traditions how to celebrate this time. From food, to decoration, events and markets, there are several customs practiced in the whole country. Some of the most important ones are mentioned below.

Christmas markets: A bunch of cities in Spain are known for its beautiful markets during winter time. People go there to buy piles of fruits, flowers, marzipan and other sweets, candles, decorations and hand-made gifts. Some of the most famous ones include the market in Plaza Mayor, in Madrid and Fira de Santa Llucía in Barcelona. Both are beautifully decorated with Christmas lights and a tree. Several stalls there selling decoration to put on the tree or on the cribs and also delicious, typical food is sold there.

Source: Time Out
Christmas village: Like the Christmas tree, the display of Bethlehem and the crib has a high importance for Spaniards. They decorate them charmingly with all figures belonging to the “Birth of Jesus” spectacle which they either build themselves or buy it at the Christmas markets. In Madrid, at the squares Puerta del Sol and Plaza Mayor they put up huge Christmas villages and cribs which are display to the public.

Winter wonderland: When it comes to decoration during the advent time, Spaniards are putting a lot of effort in it, which is represented and can be seen when you stroll through any city in December. But if you want to go to a place which looks like a real winter wonderland, go to Portaventure theme park in Barcelona. The whole park is turned into a Christmas paradise and you will even be able to watch ice shows, go to Christmas festivals and Christmas Parades.

Source: Source: Portaventura

Christmas lights: To create the perfect festive mood, Christmas lights cannot be missed. The cities light up their streets in with colourful lightbulb decorations and all the roads and the main squares start to shine. You can get the perfect Christmas lights experience when you go with the Christmas Tour Bus in Madrid. It drives in the evening and passes by all the main places which are decorated and lightened up.

Food: Eating in Spain is always a delight and when Christmas comes, people get out their best traditional recipes. During this time both, sweet and sour meals are getting even more sweet and richer than usually. The two big get togethers for family and friends are on Christmas Eve and on the 6th of December (Three Kings Day). Typical dishes on these days include roasted lamb, roasted pig, various seafood soups, salad, and any kind of tapas. When it comes to sweets there are a lot of great old bakeries in Madrid and Barcelona, which still use the old and one of the best recipes. Traditional sweets include Turrón (almond nougat), marzipan, glacé fruits, mantecados (traditional powdery sweets), Roscón de Reyes (a large ring-shaped bun eaten on January 6th).

Source: Pura Aventura

Calendar of Christmas time:

December the 8th – Immaculada (Feast of the Immaculate Conception) marks the beginning of religious Christmas celebrations, is a public holiday in Spain and is often a day where friends and families spend time together.

December the 21st – It is the shortest day of the year. Sun goes down really early and afterwards the days get longer again. This day gets celebrated usually by lightening up bonfires, which are called Hogueras.

December the 22nd – Lottery is very popular in Spain and nearly everybody buys it. During advent time there is a special Christmas lottery with the possibility to win a big amount of money, the first prize is called El Gordo, which means the fat one. On the 22nd there is the draw of the lottery and everybody is sitting in front of the TV and hoping for the best.

December the 24th – Noche Buena, Christmas Eve is mainly there to get drinks with friends and afterwards having a big dinner with the family. Kids sometimes get one present in the evening, which Santa Clause brings.

December the 25th – Christmas Day is national holiday in Spain and some kids get a present in the morning. This day is for taking a walk, get into a bar or meet up for with the family for lunchtime.

December the 28th – Santos Inocentes, Holy Innocents day is like April Fools’ Day. National media includes nonsense stories in the broadcast and in some villages they have bonfires. People try to trick each other with stories and jokes.

December the 31st – On Nochevieja, the New Year’s Eve people get to the streets or get to different parties to celebrate until the sun is rising on the next day. At midnight they have a special ritual: 12 strokes before midnight everybody starts eating grapes, one per stroke, if you fulfil that successfully, it means you have good luck in the New Year. The place to be at 12 o’clock in Madrid is the square Puerta del Sol, where people get together in front of the big clock and all eating the grapes. It ends with a big firework and everybody drinks champagne and kisses at midnight. One of the best locations to spend the Nochevieja in Spain is the square in front of the fountain Fuente de Montjuïc in Barcelona. The procedure is pretty much the same as in Madrid, but here you have additionally a show.

Source: Tilllate

January the 1st – Is a public holiday nearly everything is closed and Spanish people usually stay at home to sleep the whole day.

January the 5th – Processions are held all over Spain in the evening and sweets are thrown from the floats to all the people who come out to watch. Every town has its own type of procession and it varies from location to location.

January the 6th – Día de los Reyes Magos, the Feast of the Epiphany, Three Kings Day, is when the 3 Kings arrived in Bethlehem to bring presents to baby Jesus. On this day the long waiting has an end, finally the kids are allowed to open their gifts in the morning. It is a day where the whole family and friends get together to have a big lunch and sit together for drinks.

Source: El Estímulo

As you can see, Christmas in Spain is pretty long and people here are really passionate about it, which makes it definitely worth visiting during advent time! You don’t want to go to Spain? How about Portugal? Lisbon is another perfect venue to get yourself in the Christmas mood and enjoy this festive time.
Are you ready for Christmas? Do not hesitate to contact us for further details about our Christmas packages for Barcelona, Madrid and Lisbon.