Feliz navidad, felices fiestas, felices pascuas are some of the most common ones in order to wish a Happy Christmas, and
Próspero año, Feliz año, Buen año are some of the ones we use to wish others a “Happy new year”
In Spain, Christmas are a familiar celebration, and we start the 24th of December, yeah you read it well, we call it “Nochebuena” (Christmas eve) and we have a big and late (even later than usual ) family dinner, where seafood, lamb and turrón (a special Christmas sweet).
25th of December,(NAVIDAD Christmas) even when it is not common for us to open up presents on Christmas day, (we have them on the 6th of January, I will tell you a bit more later on this blog), most of the families wake up early and start to get ready for another big fest, this time is at lunch time (as well even later than usual).
31st of December, yeah, sorry it is not I forgot, we do not celebrate or do nothing on the 26th of December, as in the Uk, celebrating boxing day, the 26th is just to relax and recover for all the food excess 🙂 ok getting back to the 31st, strangely as it might seems to you, on “Nochevieja” (New years eve) we have dinner with our families, why?Because we like to celebrate we are starting a new year feeling home, we have another big fest, mainly the same seafood, fish, chocolates and turrón…and at 12 o’clock at night, everyone is in from of the tv, (why?Keep reading the traditions paragraph) and then of course we head out, it might be a bit late for most of you, that probably we would be ready to coming back home but Spanish people go out around 1am that night.
1st of December, (AñO NUEVO New year ) I know I know, you won’t be expecting Spanish people to do nothing on New years day, but we do…unfortunately for most of Spanish people (and I can tell you we are a lot) whom go out the night before we need to have another lunch with family, of course you will thing is not a big deal, keeping in mind how late Spanish like to have lunch but trust me if you go out at 1am you come back home pretty late (Spanish bars on Nochevieja, do not close until at least 7) and having a lunch, specially a big on is a mission 🙂
And opposite to what you might be thinking we do not finish our Christmas here, we still have one day to go the 6th of January,
that is when we open our presents as the night of the 5th of January we receive “Los Reyes Magos” visit, the three wise men visit,
and give us presents or coals (if we have been naughty during the year).
UVAS (grapes) we need them to celebrate the New year, at 12 oclock at night we eat 12 grapes, one per each month of the year coming and ask for 12 wishes, quite stressful as we need to do it in just 12 seconds…we go with the clock.
ZAPATOS (shoes) it is what we put under the Christmas tree or nativity so the “Tres Reyes Magos (the three wise men)” can leave us the presents, making sure every present is where it should be, and next morning is not a mess.
VILLANCICOS (Christmas carols) Because what will it be a Christmas dinner/lunch without carols….at least in Spain…
TURRÓN is a confection, typically made of honey, sugar, and egg white, with toasted almonds or other nuts, and usually shaped into either a rectangular tablet or a round cake. It is frequently consumed as a traditional Christmas dessert in Spain.
Yeah I made a copy and paste from wikipedia, as I had no idea how to define it, the only thing I can say is hat it takes delicious and you can find it on Christmas season, and you have all kind of flavours to choose from.
BELÉN (Nativity) You are probably are more familiar with the Christmas tree, we have it in Spain as well, but the thing that is typcally ours in Christmas is the nativity. Most of the houses have one, even if it is just a small one, and some of them are real art works.
I bet I forgot to mention a lot of them, but I think they are the most common ones, so you can have a better picture 🙂
I will try to keep this short, even when we are a bit traditions freaks (at least in my family), so I will just talk in general 🙂
We start the night of the 24th, Nochebuena, we meet with friends and we go for a drink, before dinner, I said for a drinks, but it is for more than one, it is popular to go bar by bar drinking a glass of wine.
The 25th, Navidad, a lot of families go to church as it is a Christian date, but nowadays is changing.
Both days after finish eating Spanish families spend hours, playing table games, the most popular are “bingo” and “cards” with the proper Spanish cards, and we play real money, in family, I know…greedy!
The 31st, Nochevieja, we have our grapes tradition, and it is a pretty big deal, 10 minutes before new year everyone is trying to get their grapes ready, and in front of the tv, so we make sure we do it at the same time that everyone else. After we pass that, and trust me is quite difficult, or it might seems impossible to you, have 12 grapes in 12 seconds and on top of that wishing 12 things you want in the year coming, it gets easier with practice and with my age is pretty easy, young people and grands have more difficulties, but they do as well, as if you do not finish your grapes is bad luck and nobody wants to start a new year that way.
The1st, of January , we do not really have a big thing, appart for a few that go to church and the popular table games (that by now you know I mean bingo and cards-money involved this day too)
The 5th of January, it is a tradition the day before we get the presents, in every city in Spain they is a parade where we get to see “los reyes magos”, it is pretty big they throw candies to the children and it is awesome, and if you are a kid super exciting. After the parade everyone go home, clean their shoes (los reyes magos dont like dirty shoes) and go to bed early so los reyes magos can start delivering the pressents.
Note-Los Reyes Magos come by camel and it is common to leave them and the camelssomething, for the camles usually water and for the Reyes, depends….whisky, wine, sometimes milk…and sweets as chocolate, turron, etc…that varys depend on the family as you can imagine 🙂
The 6th of January we all wake up excited and run to the Christmas tree or nativity, where we placed the shoes the night before ready to spend our presents, later on we have another family lunch following by table games, and we eat “Roscón de reyes”- is a Spanish and Latin American king’s cake pastry traditionally eaten to celebrate Epiphany, (sorry another copy/paste, I am not the best explain these things)
Opposite as what I always say, like practice, have a look to this or that…this week homework is doing nothing…except have a great time with you and your loved ones, eat , eat , eat and enjoy yourself.
Leave a comment below if you know other Spanish Christmas traditions or share one of yours, I am looking forward to reading them.
That said, the only thing I have left is to wish you and your family a very merry Christmas.