Christmas in Spain
Spain is filled with many, many traditions that take place throughout the year, particularly Christmas time.
During the Christmas period in Spain such traditions revolve around family, friends, partying and festivities. To learn more about how Christmas is spent in Spain continue reading.
One of the most important traditions at Christmas time is Midnight Mass, also known as ‘La Misa Del Gallo’ in Spain, which translates to ‘The Mass of the Rooster’.
It was given its name as it is believed that on the night Jesus was born a rooster crowed. Once this service has ended, the people take to the streets playing instruments including guitars and drums, and carrying torches to add light to their walk.
It is becoming more common that families in Spain are adopting Papá Noel on Christmas Day thorough the influence of the UK and USA.
However, traditionally Christmas presents in Spain are delivered by the Three Kings, los Reyes Magos, which occurs on January 6th on the night of the Epiphany.
This represents what happened once Jesus was born when the Three Kings delivered presents to them. The children leave out shoes on January 5th (Epiphany Eve) either under the tree or at windowsills, balconies or the front door.
Additionally, the children will leave some water out for the Three Kings’ camels and something for the Three Kings themselves.
As part of the gift bearing by the Three Kings on January 6th, parades often take place consisting of floats to further celebrate the feast of the Epiphany.
Food and Drink
Sweets in Spain are another important aspect of the Christmas period. There are three main sweet treats and these are Roscón de Reyes, Turrón and Polyorones and mantecados.
The Roscón de Reyes is eaten every January 6th on the day of gift bearing and is an extremely traditional cake. Part of the tradition of this cake is the incorporation of a metal or plastic figurine inside – so watch your teeth!
Whoever gets this figurine becomes the head of the table.
The Turrón is nougat made from almonds and you can either get it hard that contains whole almonds, or soft where the almonds are ground in with the sugar and other ingredients.
Just like the Roscón de Reyes cake, the Turrón sweet is extremely tasty and should definitely be consumed during your stay in Spain over Christmas.
Polyorones and mantecados are a type of shortbread made from almonds, sugar and cinnamon. Production of these originated in Estepa but due to its popularity, they are now mass produced around Spain.
As well as consuming sweets, people will eat 12 grapes on New Year’s Eve.
These grapes are dubbed a lucky as they are supposed to bring you good luck if you consume one grape with each chime of the church bells and make a wish for the New Year.
Another Christmas tradition in Spain is the ‘Dia de los santos inocentes’. This tradition is celebrated on December 28th.
It is the Spanish equivalent of the UK’s April Fools Day where people participate in trying to fool each other with stories and perform practical jokes. You will hear people shouting ‘inocente!’
One other key tradition that occurs over Christmas in Spain is the ‘El Gordo’. This is a world famous lottery draw that happens on December 22nd and has been going on since 1812. It starts in the morning and goes on throughout the day.
The ticket numbers that are drawn out are matched to prizes and people can increase their chances of winning through the ticketing system. So, if you’re spending your Christmas in Spain then be sure to take part in this tradition for your chance to win a top prize!
If you would like the opportunity to experience these Christmas traditions then contact us to book a stay at one of Trujillo’s luxury villas in Spain. Our villas offer excellent views of the surrounding area and a truly traditional architecture to fully immerse yourself in Spanish culture and tradition.