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What to Expect from a Spanish Christmas

December 08, 2020
As Spain is a heavily Roman Catholic country, Christmas is everything here! It's one of, if not the most important holiday of the year. As well as, of course, one of the happiest too. And you know that the Spanis are a pretty lively people! What more when it's Christmas time? It's like the entire country becomes a totally different place. Though, this year, it may not be like that. As the global pandemic rages on, many are encouraged to stay at home even for the holidays. But will this change their traditions? Probably not. Here are what you might expect from a Spanish Christmas at home.
What to Expect from a Spanish Christmas


A Big Feast with Spanish Christmas Dishes

Never one to miss out on a big meal, expect the Spanish to put out quite the fiesta for Christmas Day. This means tapas, paella, churros & hot chocolate, and many more! Any Spanish snack that you're craving, you'll probably find on the Christmas dinner table. After all, it's the day that Jesus Christ was born into this Earth. Of course, people that are as religious as the Spanish would go all out for it. They already go all out on their birthdays and the feast days of various saints. What's stopping them from putting out all the stops for Christmas?
What to Expect from a Spanish Christmas
Source: Wikimedia Commons


Putting Out a Portal de Belén

As already mentioned, the Spanish are extremely religious people. Apart from the Italians, they're arguably the most Catholic nation in Europe. Perhaps even in the rest of the world. And part of their Christmas traditions is to highlight the very reason why it's a big holiday in the first place: the birth of Christ. So every year, homes and churches put out the Portal de Belén, or the nativity scene, to remind people that the day is, above all else, Jesus Christ's birthday. Whether it's a miniature scene or a life-sized one, it depicts the Holy Family peacefully resting on that fateful, holy night.
What to Expect from a Spanish Christmas
Source: Wikimedia Commons


Decorating Your Yard With A Caga Tió

Another unique decoration the Spanish, particularly the Catalonians, have for Christmas is 'Caga Tió.' Who is he/she, exactly? Well, it's just a log with a face and legs set on a home's front or backyard. Oftentimes, people would cover it with a blanket so that it won't get cold. Kids would often play around it, hitting it with sticks and singing a song hoping to find candy underneath the blanket. And since Spain doesn't necessarily consider Santa Claus as one of the main Christmas figures, Caga Tió has become somewhat of their own mythological creature that comes with the holiday.
What to Expect from a Spanish Christmas
Source: Wikimedia Commons


Pulling Pranks On Your Loved Ones

Among Spain's many holidays, April Fool's Day isn't exactly high up on their priorities list. In fact, for many people here, that holiday is virtually non-existent. Or rather, it's observed during another, bigger, holiday—Christmas Day. Yep, one of the more unique Christmas traditions of Spain is to pull pranks on their loved ones, similarly as one would during April Fools' Day. For the Spanish, doing so is a sign of affection, that you like/love someone so much you're willing to trick them. And yes, all the classic pranks that you were probably planning on pulling for next year's April Fools' Day can apply for a Spanish Christmas too.
What to Expect from a Spanish Christmas
Source: Wikimedia Commons


Hearing A Midnight Mass

Did you now that the Spanish are very religious people? You should! It's only been mentioned quite a few times already. And because of this quality, many people in Spain would welcome Christmas Day by hearing a midnight mass on Christmas Eve. While the rest of the world sleeps in hoping to wake up early to plenty of presents under the tree and in the stockings, the Spanish commemorate Jesus Christ's Birth by hearing mass. Though they probably aren't encouraged to go to the Chruch this year as the pandemic still looms largely, families can still stream online masses from the comforts and safety of their own homes.
What to Expect from a Spanish Christmas
Source: Wikimedia Commons


Celebrating Reyes Magos Afterwards

After Christmas, every January 6 (or oftentimes, the first Sunday of January), the Spanish celebrate 'Reyes Magos.' In English, it's the 'Day of the Three Kings.' Remembering the time the Three Wise Men finally met the Baby Jesus after His birth, it's become an important religious holiday among many Catholic nations. And because Santa Claus is virtually non-existent in Spain, this tradition goes that kids go on the Three Wise Men's laps to tell them what they want or what they're praying for. After all, the Three Kings did give the Baby Jesus Christ his first-ever (material) gifts.
What to Expect from a Spanish Christmas
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Spain really knows how to celebrate Christmas. They see it beyond the commercialized holiday many people regard it as nowadays. For them, it's still all about the Birth of Jesus Christ. And that's what makes their Christmas traditions so noteworthy!

If by luck, you're already in Spain for the holidays, you might want to rent a luxury apartment to really have a great Christmas celebration!




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