Christmas traditions in Spain
Christmas is time of joy and it is felt in the atmosphere of each city and town. For almost one month, the character of the people becomes more friendly and solidary thanks to the spirit of this time of the year. Wherever you go, you can see a Christmas tree with lights and other ornaments. If you are thinking of a northern Spain holiday to enjoy the best Christmas traditions, the Christmas markets and the festive atmosphere all over the country, you couldn’t have chosen a better time.
Spain shares many traditions with other countries that celebrate Christmas, but there are also some peculiarities that make each area of our geography special. Today we’ll focus on the most unique so you miss nothing in your Christmas holidays in Spain.
Spanish Santa Claus
In Spain the tradition of Santa Claus is not that important since the presents for children are brought by the Three Wise Men. However, you can find similar figures in different regions of our geography.
In the Basque Country, for instance, the “Olentzero” comes down from the mountains, a friendly and good-natured peasant who brings presents for the children of the region; That’s on December 23. This tradition continues to be deeply rooted in cities such as Bilbao.
Although the Basque Country is not the only place where there is a characteristic figure that delivers gifts on Christmas Eve. In Catalonia this mission is accomplished by Tió Nadal, a character whose body is a wooden trunk and four legs and children feed him during the holidays.
The 12 grapes or the Lucky grapes
All over the world the 12 bells mark the end of the year, though in our country it is carried out in a peculiar way. During this countdown you should eat one grape for each stroke to start the new year with good luck. Luckily it is not the 12 watermelons… 🙂
The Three Wise Men
A very peculiar characteristic of our country are the Three Wise Men (The Three Kings) from the East. The tradition say that the 3 Kings – Melchor, Gaspar and Baltasar– arrive on the night of January 5 on their camels to bring presents to all children that were good during the whole year and charcoal for those who have had a bad behavior.
On the evening of january 5, in all the cities and towns, the Cavalcade of Kings (The Three Wise Men parade) takes part so that the children can see their Majesties arrive before going to bed and they leave the presents while children sleep.
Traditional pastries (El Roscón de Reyes)
Another tradition around the The Three Wise Men is the Roscón de Reyes, a typical Christmas pastry eaten on January 6th while the gifts are opened.
Different figures are hidden inside this pastry. Each of the persons at home gets a piece of the “roscón” but no one wants to find the “bean” because that means you’ll have to pay the whole pastry the following year.
These are just some of the most outstanding traditions of our country. If you want to know all of them and immerse yourself in the Spanish Christmas spirit, we recommend you to organize a getaway with the whole family at the end of December and beginning of January. You will be pleasantly surprised.
Remember that, if you need help to organize your trip, we can advise you and organize everything.