All about Christmas in Spain by one of our Spanish teachers

For us (Spanish people), La Navidad (Christmas) is one of the most important celebrations along the year. Navidad is the perfect time for being out or in with our family and friend
s. Navidad in Spain starts on December and its keep going until the 6
th of January.

On Nochebuena (Christmas Eve) we prepare a big dinner around a big table (sometimes it is not big enough for all of us, and we have to bring chairs from another rooms). In our table you can find ibericos, such us jamon Serrano (Serrano ham), manchego cheese, salchichon, etc. and drinks as rioja wines or champagne. One traditional dinner is pavo trufado de Navidad, which is turkey stuffed with truffles (the mushrooms, not the chocolate ones!), but the star product is the seafood: all kind of different seafood. After dinner, some people go to la Misa del Gallo (the mass of the Rooster). It is called this because a rooster is supposed to have crowed the night that Jesus was born.

During all day and especially after dinner, people walk through the streets carrying instruments, such us zambombas, guitarras y panderetas (tambourine, torches, guitars and drumbs) and they sing villancicos (Christmas songs). One Spanish saying is ‘Esta noche es Noche-Buena, Y no Es noche de dormir’ which means ‘Tonight is the good night and it is not meant for sleXmas tree Spanisheping!’

On December 28th is Dia de los Santos Inocentes (Day of the Innocent Saints), people try to trick each other into believing silly stories and jokes, even newspapers and television participate in this funny day, very similar to April Fools Day.

New Year’s Eve is called Nochevieja or ‘The Old Night’ in Spain and one special tradition is that you eat 12 grapes with the 12 strokes of the clock at Midnight! Each grape represents a month of the coming year, so if you eat the twelve grapes (uvas), you are said to be lucky in the new year. Las uvas de la suerte started to be eaten in 1909 due to a massive harvest in Alicante (Valencia).

The favourite day is la Fiesta de los Tres Reyes Magos (The Three Wise Men or Epiphany) celebrated on 6th of January, and it celebrates when the Wise men brought gifts to the baby Jesus. Children have some presents on Christmas Days, but most are opened at 6th of January. Children write letters to the King during the month, asking for toys and presents. During the Epiphany Eve (January 5th), they leave shoes, three glasses of milk for each King and three of water for the camels! If the children have been bad, the Kings might leave pieces of carbon (coal made out of sugar in the presents)!

 

Christmas in different languages in Spain

A few different languages are spoken in different regions in Spain. In Spanish Happy/Merry Christmas is ‘Feliz Navidad’; in Catalan it’s ‘Bon Nadal’; in Galician ‘Bo Nadal’; and in Basque (or Euskara in basque) ‘Eguberri on’.