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Christmas Celebration in Spain

Christmas Celebration in Spain

Christmas celebration in Spain is different in many ways from the normal celebrations in the UK,  US and other western countries.The Spanish certainly know how to celebrate their Christmas. The Spanish treat Christmas as a religious event, they throw themselves fully into the spirit of Christmas. Before December, it is very rare to see Christmas lights, displays and products in stores in the country.

Every town and city will have its streets fully decorated with lights and beautiful displays. These displays have very important religious meaning and are called the Belén. Christmas trees magically seem to appear for sale everywhere. The traditional red-leaved plants, are planted in every public and municipal garden.

The Spanish Christmas generally starts on December 22nd with the world’s biggest lottery draw: El Gordo meaning the Fat One. This even is carried out the whole day and is watched or listened to by most of the population of Spain. The prize fund for this Christmas lottery totals a handsome amount of 2.1 billion Euros.

Christmas Eve is called Nochebuena meaning a goodnight and is the most important family gathering of the year. People often meet in bars early in the evening for a few drinks with friends then return home to the family and have their main celebratory meal. Fish or seafood starters followed by a roast is a typical meal. Lamb or pork is the usual fare, not turkey as is the normal custom. A Christmas sweet called turrón is also there.

Spanish champagne, called Cava, is usually the preferred drink for the Christmas toast. There are small presents for the children but the main present-giving day doesn’t come until January 6th.On December 28th they celebrate Santos Innocentes that means a Holy innocents day. This is much like April Fools Day and many people, organizations and the media play the usual tricks and spoofs to join in the fun.

Whereas the New Year’s Eve is called Noche Vieja which means old night, and is the same as anywhere in the world with much partying into the early hours of the morning.

Three Kings Day starts on the evening of January 5th with excitement, processions and floats in every town. The Three Kings and their helpers throw thousands of sweets from their floats to all the children and anyone else who comes out to watch.  

Every town of Spain has its own special way of celebrating this event. In some coastal towns the Three Kings may arrive by boat before the procession. The Three Kings Day proper is January 6th. This is the most important day of the year for the children, who will wake up to find that the Three Kings have visited and left them presents in the night and on January 7th the festivals are all over and the people get back to their normal lives.

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