All over the world, people enjoy Christmas and the festive season, filled with celebration, joy, and deeply rooted traditions. Christmas traditions are truly the most exciting time of the year. Every country has its own Christmas traditions, although Spain loves to celebrate the festive season with unique customs, massive Christmas decorations, and a national lottery with a December fish and poop log. Here are the top 7 best Spanish Christmas traditions to celebrate over the Christmas period.
1- The Nativity scenes:
via – thediplomatinspain
Nativity scenes, or belenes, are popular Christmas decorations in Spain and are widely present in Spanish towns and homes. Many believers in Spain choose to recall the original meaning of Christmas and exhibit these models of Bethlehem to illustrate the nativity scene of Jesus’ birth. The models come in all shapes and sizes. It can be as simple as Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, and the three kings, Baltasar, Melchior, and Gaspar. Some families create nativity scenes in their homes, whereas others display a small one next to the Christmas tree.
2- Spanish Christmas carols, Villancicos:
via – fascinatingspain
Villancicos, or Spanish Christmas carols, are vital to the Spanish festive season. These traditional tunes are sung mainly by children during the Christmas season.
Villancicos are poetic and musical forms with a religious theme dating back to the Middle Ages. In southern Spain, flamenco is also present in the rhythm of the songs. Two instruments, the pandereta and the zambomba, are keys to this Spanish Christmas tradition.
3- Christmas sweets turrón, polvorones and Mazapan:
via – spanishsabores
Christmas Eve in Spain is one of the most important gatherings of the entire year for Spanish families. It consists of a lengthy evening meal with typical Christmas sweets like turrón, marzipan, and polvorones.
Turrón is a must in the Spanish Christmas sweets on any Christmas table. It is a nougat made of toasted sweet almonds, and honey is the real star at the dessert table.
Marzipan is one of the stars at Christmas. It is a traditional dessert of almonds, sugar, honey, and eggs molded into different shapes and baked.
Polvorones are tiny cakes made of flour, sugar, milk, and nuts. They are known for their crispy texture and are available in several flavors: vanilla, cinnamon, lemon, etc.
4- Roscón de Reyes:
via – familysearch
Roscón de Reyes is one of the most famous dishes on the Christmas holiday. It is a traditional cake eaten in Spain on the arrival day of the three kings or Epiphany. The cake is a round filled with whipped cream with a whole in the middle and decorated with candied fruits on top and a small figurine and a bean baked inside. The tradition says if you get the slice with the little figurine, you win the honor of wearing a crown.
5- The Three Kings:
via – lonelyplanet
Christmas in Spain different from Christmas in other countries, as there is no Santa Claus. Instead, the Three Wise Men bring gifts to good children during Christmas holidays.
In addition, on January 5, the cities held a parade called the Cabalgata de Reyes, in which the kings parade through the towns on large floats and distribute sweets to children in the street.
The following day, the Three Wise Men return from the east and leave behind gifts that children excitedly open as soon as they wake up. In addition, all the children write a letter to the Three Wise Men and, on January 6, they eat a special chocolate cake: the Roscon de Reyes.
6- El Gordo, The fat lottery:
via – telegraph
El Gordo is one of Spain’s most exciting Christmas traditions. All Spaniards play the lottery at Christmas, buying a tenth of a ticket and matching the numbers of all their friends and colleagues.
The Gordo event has been held every year since 1812, and tradition dictates that the lucky numbers are revealed live on television and performed by a school choir on the morning of December 22.
7- Eat grapes to celebrate New Year:
via – npr
December has arrived, and all Spaniards strive to eat twelve grapes before the stroke of midnight. If you don’t manage to eat them all, they say you’re out of luck for the following year.