In Spain, the Christmas holidays are one of the most important celebrations of the year. Always being synonymous with joy, family unity and happiness. But it is also a time of very curious and special traditions. Today, in HablarEspañol, we bring you some of the most original.
All the people interested in speaking Spanish must also know about its culture and traditions. Learning Spanish is not enough to be involved in the language.
The roscón de Reyes
The Roscón de Reyes is the typical sweet for breakfast or lunch on January 6, when the Three Wise Men arrive to bring gifts to the children. It is shaped like a ring and is made with thin dough, filled with cream, marzipan, truffle or some similar filling and is decorated with pieces of candied or candied fruits of various colors, usually red and green, which represent the precious stones that supposedly worshiped the capes of the three wise men. Inside there is a figurine hidden and whoever finds it is crowned “king of the house.”
Beas Living Nativity Scene
Although in Spain many living nativity scenes are organized on these dates, the Beas one is special, since it is the oldest in Andalusia and the second in the country. It has been in the making for more than 50 years and with the passage of time it has grown more and more, so much so that now people from all over Spain come to see it between December 26 and January 2.
Eat 12 grapes on New Years Eve
One of the most deeply rooted Christmas traditions in Spain is to eat one for each month of the year because it is said to bring good luck. In the last minute of the year, the 12 chimes that start the new year sound. After 12 chimes, everyone toasts and kisses to congratulate each other and wish each other well. The most curious thing is that every year at the Puerta del Sol in Madrid a drill is held on December 30 at 12 at night, known as the pre-grapes. There are even those who meet on the 31st at noon.
The mass of the rooster in Mallorca
In Spain, every Christmas Eve, Christians go to church after dinner to celebrate the birth of Jesus. But in Mallorca something different is done during the Misa del Gallo. It is the “song of the Sibyl”, recognized as Intangible Heritage by UNESCO. Performed by a character announcing the Last Judgment dressed in a tunic, a helmet and a sword.
Every year huge queues form in the Lottery administrations to buy tickets for the Gordo, a draw that takes place on December 22 and whose maximum prize is 4 million euros. In addition, those who do not have to, can try their luck again with the Lotería del Niño, which is celebrated on January 6.
The pastorela of Braojos de la Sierra
In the Sierra Norte de Madrid, in the town of Braojos de la Sierra, every Christmas Eve a traditional pastoral dance is celebrated in the church while a group of musicians play zambombas, tambourines, drums, mortar and a bottle. The pastors enter the church with a cane in hand and dressed in leather suits, swimming pools and a backpack.
The Parade of Granada
Although there are more numerous and with a larger budget, the Parade of the Kings of Granada is special for having known how to maintain its spectacularity for almost two centuries, being currently the second oldest in Spain. Can you imagine seeing their artistic floats circulating through one of the most beautiful cities in the world?
The other Santa Claus
In Spain, gifts are usually brought by Santa Claus and the Three Wise Men, but they are also brought by Olentzero, a good-natured character who loves to eat and drink and who gives gifts to the children of Navarra and the Basque Country every year. It is said that the rest of the year he lives isolated in the forests of these regions.
The Galician Apalpador
Galicia also has its own Christmas character, the Apalpador. A chickadee who also lives in the mountains and who comes down every December 24 and 31 to feel the children’s bellies and leaves them gifts and chestnuts depending on the kilos they weigh.
Be careful with the branches of Caga Tió!
One of the most deeply rooted Christmas traditions in Catalonia has a pagan origin, the Caga Tió. It is a log that parents give to children and to which they draw eyebrows, eyes and nose, cover it with a blanket so that it does not get cold and crown it with the typical Catalan barretina. During Christmas, the children give him food so that, when they hit him with a cane on Christmas Eve, he spits out sweets and nuts.
Even if you don’t know anything about our language and you are looking for a Spanish for beginners course, it is very important that you also know our customs and traditions.