As Christmas candy the Spaniards are
eating "Turron" a kind of assorted chocolate, produced of among other
things almonds and honey, or maybe marzipan. The meal will be
complimented with champagne, and
preferably the Spanish "Cava".
After the meal the adults will
then exchange presents. The children will usually only receive a small
gift. At midnight, some people will go to the Midnight Mass at the
church. Others may stay at home and open a bottle of champagne to
celebrate the birth of Christ.
Some children go Carol singing and the
youngsters may go to bed whilst the adults go out and party until dawn.
Day is a fiesta day so all banks and shops are closed,
probably to recover from the night before. Christmas
Day in Spain is one of the quietest of the year.
Anyone wanting to eat out on this special day will
have to book well in advance.
The first major sign of
Christmas is the state-run lottery which is drawn on December 22nd. The
'El Gordo' (the Fat One) is one of the largest lotteries in the world
and thousands of people win each year.
In general, Christmas in Spain
is based more on a religious theme than in many other places. Churches
are packed to capacity, day and night.
Spain has many of its own unique
traditions, all of which are great fun, but many of the Spanish traditions, are the same in the former
Spanish colonies. In Spain there are many Christmas markets through
December. Many parties are celebrated in the different cities during
Traditionally it is the Twelfth Night (the 6th of January), where the Holy 3 Kings - Los
Reyes Magos ( Melchor, Gaspar and Balthazar ) that is bringing the gifts
in Spain. It is namely on this day, that you'll
receive your Christmas gifts, as a symbol on the arrival of the Holy
Three Kings at the Crib of the Infant Jesus.
The evening before, the 5th
of January, there are parades in most cities, where the Kings are riding
through the cities on Camels, horses, donkeys or in decorated vans or
busses. In the evening all the children place their footwear outside the
door, before going to bed. The next morning the Holy 3 Kings have placed
presents in them. The most bellowed is Balthazar.
In Spain, Santa Claus
is called Papa Noel.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
- Feliz Navidad y Prospero ano