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DECK THE HOLIDAY'S: CELEBRATING CHRISTMAS IN SPAIN!!!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

CELEBRATING CHRISTMAS IN SPAIN!!!



    If you are looking to spend Christmas in Spain you may want to plan on spending a month there because Christmas in Spain is a very religious holiday which starts on the 8th of December and celebrations last until the 6th of January.  The  festivities for Christmas in Spain start on December 8th, which is also a national holiday in Spain, celebrating "Immaculada"...the feast of the Immaculate Conception.  In  Sevilla (Seville), one celebration is the "Dance of the Six" and in Caceres the young children of the town dress in jeweled clothing and holds a figure of the Virgin Mary as high in the air as they can run through the streets.
   In Spain, Christmas Eve is known as "Nochebuena", meaning the Good Night.  It is a huge candlelight celebration which consists of a magnificent feast and going to mass at midnight.  One of the most beautiful masses is the Mass of the Rooster, held at a mountain monastery at Montserrat, the boys choir is believed to be one of the best in Spain.  In Labastida, shepherds enter the church carrying lambs and female shepherdesses carry a representation of the Christ child.


 


  















   Celebrating Christmas Day in Spain is not the big gift giving holiday; it is really a day for celebrations, family gatherings and going to church.  Children may receive a small gift.  One tradition is to build bon fires called Hogueras, which are believed to protect against illness.
   December 28th is the day they celebrate El dia de Los Santos Inocentes, which is the feast of the holy innocents and is almost the same as April Fool's day here in America, where everyone goes around playing pranks or tricks on each other.  One big difference however is that one child from a village or town is elected to be mayor for the day and they get to tell people what to do, like sweep the streets or clean up the town.  If you don't do it, you have to contribute something to the celebration.  If you should happen to catch someone playing a trick make sure you call out "Inocente"!


 

     El dia de Reyes,  celebrated on January 6th, is actually the big Christmas celebration in Spain and the one that ends the holiday season.  It is the traditional visit of the Three Kings, Melchior, Gaspar, and Balthazar.  It too,  is a day of festivities and gathering and it's also the big gift giving day.  On the eve of Epiphany, January 5th, children will fill their shoes with grass, grain and carrots for the kings camels and put them on their doorstep, in the hope that the kings will leave gifts around their shoes.  Balthazar is believed to be the bringer of the gifts, so he is the children's favorite.
   Once you arrive for your Christmas in Spain celebration, there are several options for getting to various cities or towns, flying in Spain is cheap and a fast way to get from one major city to another.  Another method is by train, the system is very dependable and easy, but all lines lead to Madrid ( the capital of Spain), which means you may have to go out of your way to get to your destination,  and trains are not available in all cities.



 


    Buses are the most popular means of transportation and believe it or not, they are often faster than taking the train.  Since they are in high demand , the prices are affordable, comfortable and dependable.  Taking a ferry is also sometimes an option depending what area you are looking to visit.  Renting a car is also an option, however unless you are familiar with laws and have a valid license to drive in Spain.  It really is not a good option.  Driving in Spain could be hazardous and road conditions are poor so unless you know what you are doing and where you are going, public transportation is the best way to get around.
   Celebrating Christmas in Spain is a wonderful and extremely festive experience and it doesn't seem to matter where you go, having a great time will be unavoidable.


  

4 comments:

  1. But will the 27th be a holiday for most of Spain too?

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  2. I know of the most memorable days and why they are special for each country. The days that have real meaning for their celebrations

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  3. In the catalonian region is Christmas well celebrated also, and what is the best town to stay in for my family?

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  4. Catalonia has its own unique traditions over the Christmas period and perhaps one of the more unusual is "Caga Tio". Politely translated, this means "empty your bowels" and is, in reality, a little log with a face drawn on one end and wearing a red peasant hat called a "barratina". On Reyes, the 6th January, Caga Tio sits in the living room on top of a mound of presents, covered with a blanket. When the children wake up, they run downstairs and hit Caga Tio with a stick while singing a song that orders Caga Tio to loosen his bowels and let drop the presents. To see this tradition in full swing before Reyes, take a trip to Sant Vincenç de Castellet on the 18th December where the festival of the Caga Tio is held. At 5pm in the town square the ceremony begins where you can watch, in addition, a human nativity scene and traditional dancing.

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