Christmas here in Spain is celebrated slightly differently from the way it is in northern Europe. Even the tradition of Christmas Eve is different. For those who didn’t know, the Spanish word for Christmas is Navidad.
Here in Spain, Christmas already begins on 8 December, the day of the Immaculate Conception, or “día de purísima concepción”, because the Virgin Mary was impregnated by the Holy Spirit. At the same time, Spanish Christmas has also become much more commercial in recent decades, which seems to be a global trend.
But what is still the big hit in Spain are the nativity plays: “belenes”.
Every self-respecting person puts up a part of the Holy Family. Of course, these come in many different designs, using different materials and figurines. Another special event is the Christmas lottery ‘el Gordo’. Tickets for the lottery can be bought all year round in Spain, even on the street.
Advent and Christmas presents in Spain | Niño Jesús
Advent is not celebrated in Spain the way it is elsewhere. There are lots of Christmas decorations and ornaments, but no Advent candles or Advent branches. From 8th of December, people in Spain slowly get into the Christmas spirit, however from 22nd December onwards it becomes very festive and that’s when the tradition of playing the lottery comes into play. Around this time the numbers are drawn, the “Sorteo de Navidad”.
Christmas Eve is not celebrated in Spain, even some shops are still open then. It is not until 25th December with the main mass – often at midnight – that Spaniards actually celebrate the holiday. What many people don’t know is that gifts are traditionally only given on 6 January, when the Christmas season is over. It is the day of the Three Wise Men, which has little significance in other European countries apart from the carol singers, but in Spain it is the “día de reyes magos”.
But even within Spain there are big differences in how Christmas is being celebrated.
There is also a wide range of traditional dishes. While people in the northwest tend to eat pork or lamb, in the south chicken is considered the fancy food at Christmas.
Sweet treats are very important in Spain at this time of year. Very common here is turrón, an almond-based sweet and hard candy that you must try – it’s reminiscent of Turkish honey.
Lesson from 2020: Reflect and recognise what is essential.
For us, you are essential.
We thank you for your valuable cooperation,
continued support and partnership even in difficult times
and wish you a peaceful holiday season
and a healthy start to 2021!
We look forward to working with you in the years to come.
Eric Svanberg and the Unic Villas Team