Stunning Traditions You Only Experience When You Spend Christmas In Spain
Spain is a lovely country with dreamy landscapes and splendid weather. There is nothing more beautiful than spending Christmas in Spain. This is partly because of the stunning traditions that have been kept alive for hundreds of years. There is always ample food and drinks. However, the best memory is the experience with the people.
The celebration of Christmas in Spain begins, for most people, with Midnight Mass (La Misa Del Gallo). Christmas Eve is called Nochebuena. From the beginning of advent up until Nochebuena, children often visit neighbours, singing Christmas Carols. They mostly do this with the hope of getting some money.
Traditional Spanish Christmas Meals
Truffle-stuffed turkey remains the traditional Christmas food for most Spanish families. Known as 'Pavo Trufado de Navidad,' most families eat this meal before going to the church service on Christmas Eve. However, in recent times, the choice of food has been changing. In the north-west region predominantly surrounded by water, the traditional Christmas meal is usually seafood.
There is usually a rich diversity on the table when seafood is served, including lobster, shellfish, molluscs and crabs. During Christmas in Spain, feasting always ends with desserts. The most popular one is marzipan made from almonds, sugar, and eggs. There are also polvorones (cinnamon cookies) made from of flour, butter, sugar.
The Three Kings Festival
Christmas in Spain usually spills into January. One of the most spectacular celebrations during this time is the Dia de los Reyes (Three King's Day). This is a celebration that marks the arrival of the three wise men in Bethlehem. It is held annually on January 6th. During this time, the streets are filled with colourfully costumed participants. The 'wise men' rain handfuls of sweets on the spectators who gather to watch their glorious entry into the town.
Although the sweets are meant for children, you will see adults turn their umbrellas upside down to catch them. In major cities like Barcelona and Madrid, the King's parade attracts thousands of spectators. The atmosphere is friendly and it’s one of the great places to make new friends. By the evening of January 5th, children leave a pair of shoes outside their doors. The colourful kings fill them with gifts. January 6th is an important holiday on which parents gather to watch the children unwrap their gifts.
Favourite Christmas Day Activity for the whole family
Surprisingly, unlike in other parts of the world where the main feasting is on Christmas Day, Spanish families still come together to eat meat with assorted drinks, but it is usually lighter than that of Christmas Eve. Afterwards, children take to the streets to try their new bikes, roller skates, and remote-controlled toys.
Day of the Innocent Saints
December 28th is another special celebration that you can't afford to miss. It is the commemoration of the Day of the Innocent Saints (Dia de los santos inocentes). All over the world, the celebration marks the remembrance of the children killed on the order of King Herod. However, in Spain, the festival is similar to April Fool's Day in the United States of America and the United Kingdom. The rule is simple; try to tell silly stories or jokes in a way that makes them believable.
On New Year's Eve, one tradition that is still in practice is for people to eat 12 grapes: one grape for each stroke of the midnight clock. If you succeed in eating 12 grapes during the 12 strokes, it signifies luck for the coming year. Make sure you leave with a souvenir to keep your lovely memories alive.