The Spanish Language Blog

Christmas and New Year are both important celebrations, which is why they are also celebrated in Spain in a big way! The Christmas atmosphere is very noticeable in the Spanish streets from the beginning of December. Everything is decorated, nativity scenes are placed and Christmas lights are also hung everywhere. In Spain, as in Holland, Christmas is celebrated with your family. Families eat a lot and a lot.

Christmas Eve in Spain is called "Nochebuena", which also means the good evening. During "Nochebuena" the Spaniards go to the Midnight Mass which is called "La Misa Del Gallo" (the Mass of the Cock). It is so called because a rooster announced the birth of Jesus. During the Nochebuena, children receive some small gifts, but the real "gift-giving" takes place in Spain when the Three Kings visit on January 6.

But Spaniards wouldn't be Spaniards if they didn't have special Christmas customs. Indeed, in Granada and Jaén, people jump over fires to protect themselves from disease. Also, in other regions, a special Christmas dance is performed that is more than a hundred years old. Spaniards, unlike us Dutch, only send Christmas cards to the people they will not see soon. If you do see someone often, you can also wish them a Merry Christmas in person, according to the Spanish.

At the Christmas markets in Barcelona and the surrounding area, there is also something funny to see; figurines of famous politicians and BE´ers (Famous Españoles) doing their business. These ´poopers´ symbolize the fertility that excrement gives to the ground. Besides, of course, it is also funny to see.

Therefore, the two most enjoyable Christmas markets in Spain are those of Barcelona, and of the capital Madrid. Barcelona's largest Christmas market is the Fira de Santa Llucía, where you can admire the nativity scene and stroll past more than 300 stalls. And there is even a musical parade! The Christmas market in Madrid's Plaza Mayor is large and characteristic every year. Spaniards and tourists alike come from far and wide to enjoy the Christmas atmosphere in this square in December.

One of the most important events during Christmas in Spain is ´El Gordo´, which means ´the fat one´. This is the biggest state-run lottery and world famous! Spaniards look forward to this Christmas tradition for a long time and when the numbers are finally drawn, they are sung by school children.

After everyone has wished each other Feliz Navidad, or Merry Christmas, it's already time to celebrate New Year's Eve, which, of course, also happens in a big way. Keep the Cava coming!

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