Christmas is one of the most popular celebrations in the world, and Spain is no exception. In some cities, Christmas preparations start in November, and from then on there are Christmas advertisements on television.
Although this has caused Christmas to become a commercial celebration in the last few years, Spain still has many traditions for this season. In this article we will talk about how Christmas is celebrated in Spain.
We will know some the most important Christmas customs Spaniards have. One of the oldest Christmas traditions in Spain is the drawing of the known “Christmas Lottery”, which takes place on December 22, and it is one of the most awaited and sold drawings in the year. The jackpot is three million euros.
Christmas dinner is quite a tradition in Spain, as it is around the world. On Christmas Eve, December 24, all the family (grandparents, uncles, cousins, etc) gather in a house to share the Christmas dinner, which is different in every city, but eating turkey is more usual lately. There are also deserts and sweets like marzipans and nougat candies. As for drinks, champagne, wine and cider are very popular. Tradition mandates Christmas dinner be served before midnight.
After Christmas dinner, everybody waits until midnight for the classical Christmas hug and singing some carols by the nativity scene. In some cities, Christmas is a family celebration, but in big cities like Madrid, Barcelona or Valencia, many young people go out in groups after midnight to have fun in bars and discotheques. On the other side, Catholics prefer to attend midnight mass.
On the night of December 24, little children ask for the classical “Christmas box”. They gather and go out in groups to the streets with tambourines and hand instruments to sing carols in exchange for sweets and some coins. This tradition is seldom seen in big cities, but it still exists in some towns in Spain.
In most cities in Spain the sky is lit up with fireworks at midnight. This show of bright lights is celebrated by hundreds of families who go out of their houses to appreciate such a beautiful display.
But it is not over after December 25. On January 5 there is the “Procession of the Three Wise Men”. It represents the three wise men going down the streets throwing candies and toys to children who come out to watch them.
On that same night, many children write letters to the wise men asking for gifts. If they behaved well during the year, they will probably receive what they asked for the next day; otherwise, they will only find charcoal candy.