Did You Know These Spanish Holiday Traditions?
The holidays will look a little different this year with Covid regulations limiting our social events and traditions. There’s a 10 person limit on Christmas and New Year celebrations, travel restrictions are in place across Spain and the nighttime curfew makes it difficult to feel like the holidays are really here!
Yet there are still many traditions that will not be changed by the current circumstances and here we discuss a few of the big ones!
Chocolate con Churros
It’s December and it’s cold outside, even in Spain! A typical way to warm ourselves up is not drinking a cup of mulled wine as it would be in other parts of Europe. Here in Spain, we go for chocolate con churros.
Also known as porras, churros are fried pieces of pastry made with flour and water. The difference between churro and “porra” is the size and the shape. The churro is smaller and has a bow-shape while a “porra” is more like a stick shape. They go deliciously with a cup of hot chocolate but this is not typical hot cocoa, this is pure, thick chocolate. No milk or water added!
Día de los Santos Inocentes
Have you ever heard of this day? It is not directly related to Xmas but it is a special day on the calendar. In Spain we celebrate the Día de los Santos Inocentes on December 28th which is the Spanish equivalent of April Fools day. A day of practical jokes between family and friends, and even the Spanish press publish fake news on this day known as inocentada. There’s also a famous TV show that plays pranks on celebrities with all proceeds donated to charity.
Maybe the most common (and peculiar) New Year’s tradition in Spain is to eat one grape on each chime of the clock at midnight. Known as the 12 “uvas de la suerte” or lucky grapes, the tradition signifies bringing in a prosperous year ahead. 12 grapes at the turn of the New Year followed by a toast with champagne, cava or cider is a very lucky start to the year for Spaniards.
This tradition dates back to 1896 and was something done by wealthy families. In 1909 a huge surplus of grapes were harvested happened and this started a big campaign promoting the lucky grapes on New Year’s Eve.
To complement the lucky 12 grapes and to bring even more good luck, people dress up on New Years eve and also wear red underwear!
Red is a color synonymous with blood and life, so in Spain it’s considered to be a color that attracts luck. Another peculiar tradition in Spain for New Years!
Santa’s visit on Christmas Eve is not the only special visit for children during Christmas in Spain.
Traditionally, children in Spain received gifts from the Reyes Magos (Magic Kings or Three Wise Men in English). This still applies today so children in Spain are quite fortunate to get presents on the Dec 25th and Jan 6th too. Melchor, Gaspar and Baltasar are their names and they are said to visit Spanish homes on the night of Jan 5th to Jan 6th.
Roscón de Reyes
A big tradition on the day of the Reyes Magos in Spain is to eat a Roscón de Reyes, a ring-shaped cake stuffed with cream, chocolate or jam. Inside there are two small surprises. A small figure and a dry bean. The person who’s piece of the cake contains the small figure is crowned King or Queen and the person who finds the bean has to pay for the Roscón next year. You can find these typical cakes in all grocery stores and cafeterías in Spain at this time of year.
We hope you learnt something new about holiday traditions in Spain. Keep posted on our Euroace Blog for more informative posts over the holiday season.