12 Dec Christmas time in Spain
Christmas is the perfect time of year to meet family and friends and enjoy memorable moments together.
Each country has its own traditions and celebrations. We have made a list of the most important Spanish Christmas traditions:
Christmas in Spain: The Spanish Christmas Traditions
Christmas Lottery (22nd Dec)
Christmas lottery in our country, called El Gordo, is one of the biggest drawns in the world. Spaniards go mad, queuing for hours to buy tickets for the famous El Gordo that each year is higher than the previous one.
Winners are usually from the same area: many people have bought tickets from the same shop which holds all the winning tickets. This assigning of numbers to certain shops means if you want to ‘play’ a particular number, you might have to travel quite a way (or buy your tickets online).
In terms of prizes, because so many people take part, numbers are repeated up to 165 times. That means if you do win El Gordo, you will be sharing your prize with at least 164 others….
Christmas Eve (24th Dec)
Christmas Eve is called Nochebuena in Spanish and it is the most important family gathering of the year.
In the afternoon people often meet early for a few drinks with friends then return home to enjoy a meal with the family. Prawns, roast lamb, polvorones or cava (sparkling wine) are some of the musts on the Christmas Eve dinner.
In Spain we don’t get presents on Christmas day or celebrate Santa Claus but it’s traditional for children to sing a very popular carol called Dame el Aguinaldo to the oldest ones expecting to get some money in return.
Religious families would attend the Midnight Mass or “Misa del Gallo” (The Mass of the Rooster), called this way because a rooster is supposed to have crowed the night that Jesus was born.
Santos Inocentes (Holy Innocents Day, 28th Dec)
On Dec 28th we celebrate the “Day of Innocent Saints”, the equivalent of April Fools day in UK and USA. People try to trick each other into believing silly stories and jokes.
But why we do celebrate this on that particular day? Another Christian relation takes us to Dec 8 when people all over the world remember the babies that were killed on the orders of King Herod when he was trying to kill the baby Jesus.
New Year’s Eve (31st Dec)
New Year’s Eve (Nochevieja in Spanish), one of the most important days of christmas in Spain, is a big celebration all over the country with street parties and special venues at hotels and clubs everywhere.
Until midnight people tend to stay at home, family gatherings and on the stroke of midnight, it is traditional to eat 12 grapes, one on each stroke of the clock to bring good luck for the upcoming new year.
The Magic of Christmas: Three Wise Kings (6th Jan)
Our Christmas season ends the Three Magic King’s day and celebrates when the Wise Men brought gifts to the baby Jesus, 12 days after being born.
Spanish children follow this tradition and believe that Melchoir, Gaspar and Balthazar are the magic kings bringing presents to them on Epiphany Day.
They prepare everything at home: shoes on the balconies or under the Christmas Tree, water, carrots and milk for the camels, a glass of cognac and walnuts for the Kings.
¡Enjoy Christmas in Spain!
If you want to learn more about Spanish celebrations, read this post.
If you wish to spend your next Christmas Holidays in Spain, please contact us to create a magic trip for you.