Christmas traditions in Spain
Like in many countries worldwide, Xmas is a very special time of the year for Spaniards. Spanish people have tons of traditions and these are a few:
Christmas Eve is known as ‘Nochebuena’. It is a time for family members to gather together to catch up, celebrate and feast around a table full of food: chorizo, jamón serrano, seafood, and a traditional Christmas treat called ‘turrón’ – a kind of almond candy – are always present.
‘Navidad’ is the second day for family members to seat around a table full of food. This time, roast lamb is king, although some families may choose turkey or even pork. Before lunch, Santa Claus may have brought some presents (although not every Spanish family celebrates this as most families will celebrate the Three Wise Men on the 6th of January.
Don’t trust anyone, not even the newspapers on this day. In Spain, December 28th is celebrated in much the same way as April Fool’s Day is in other cultures, meaning it is a day to watch out for pranks, known as ‘inocentadas’ that jokers are looking to play on people.
12 grapes night
New Year’s Eve, also known as ‘Nochevieja’ is the last day of the year and it is a date to party with your friends. It is a night for throwing fiestas called ‘cotillones’ or for gathering in town squares under the old clock tower waiting for it to strike twelve. According to tradition, you eat 12 grapes with the 12 strokes of the clock at midnight. Each grape represents a month of the coming year, so if you eat the twelve at this time you are guaranteed good fortune for the year.
The Three Wise Men
Children may have some presents on Christmas Day, but The Three Wise Men are more popular in the country. Children write letters to the Reyes Magos (three kings) and on the 5th of January parades roll through town in which the three kings and their pages shower candy over hypnotized children. At home, kids will leave their shoes by the chimney or under the Christmas tree to be filled with presents. Milk glasses are left on the table so when the camels arrive they can drink in case they are thirsty. If children behaved badly they will receive pieces of coal made out of sugar
January 6th is the third and last time to gather around a table and enjoy the company of your beloved ones. Roscón de Reyes (a ring shaped cake) filled with cream or chocolate that contains little gifts will be served as dessert. Be careful when you bite!