Christmas-Madrid-Spain

The Spanish are just as enthusiastic as their UK and US cousins when it comes to celebrating the Christmas and New Year period.  However they do things slightly differently.  For example, in Spain children may get one present on Christmas Eve (not Christmas day) and look forward to the 6th January when the Three Wise Men (or Three Kings) deliver the rest of their presents.

Interested in what's different about Christmas in Spain?  Please read on....




8th December – The festive season commences with the Immaculada, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.  This is a public holiday in Spain and usually Christmas lights are turn on around the towns and nativity scenes will start to appear in shops, homes and public places.

21st December – Marks the celebration of Hogueres (bonfires)and the winter solstice (shortest day). Certain cities, especially Granada really embrace this day with the revelries including people jumping through fires to protect themselves against illness.

22nd December – Pretty much all of Spain will be close to a radio or TV for the Christmas lottery.  Everyone buys a ticket in hope of winning El Gordo (the fat one).  Besides three big prizes there are thousands of smaller prizes share by people all over the country.

24th December – Christmas Eve is called Nochebuena (Goodnight) in Spain. People tend to gather together in the early evening or late afternoon for drinks with friends, to return back home for a special family dinner later on. Most bars and restaurants close in the evening. Prawn starters followed by roast lamb would be a typical meal finished off with a tradtional Christmas sweet called turrón which is a nougat made of toasted sweet almonds.  Cava, the sparkling Spanish wine will flow freely all day.

25th December – Traditionally Christmas day is not the huge celebration it is in the UK or US.  Santa may deliver a token gift or two either on Nochebuena or this morning but the day for presents is 6th January, Epiphany, when the Three Kings bring gifts for the children. Christmas Day is a national holiday in Spain so shops are closed.  It is a calm day when people go out for a walk, drop into a bar, etc. Another large family meal at lunchtime is common though it’s just as common to see families eating out in restaurants on the afternoon of Christmas day.

28th December – In Spain this is the day of Santos Inocentes (Holy Innocents) and is the equivalent of April Fools’ Day when people play practical jokes on one another. Often the national media will include an eye-widening or silly story in their broadcasts. In some villages youngsters light bonfires and one of them acts as the mayor who orders townspeople to carry out civic tasks such as sweeping the streets. Refusal to comply results in fines, which are used to pay for the celebration.

31st December – New Year’s Eve is known as NocheVieja which translated literally means ‘old night’. The whole country celebrates big style with street parties and special festivities in hotels and clubs everywhere. Those staying at home will wait for the stroke of midnight when it is traditional to eat 12 grapes, one on each stroke of the clock to bring good luck for the new year. In Madrid and other main cities revelers congregate in the main square (Puerta del Sol in Madrid) and eat the grapes along with a celebratory bottle of cava then head out into the night to party until after sunrise.

1st January – A low key public holiday with plenty people sleeping off their excesses.

5th January – There are lively processions all over Spain on this evening: a real family affair where sweets are thrown from the floats into the crowds. Every town has its own variation such as in the Sierra Nevada where the Three Kings (Wise Men) can be seen to ski down to the village.

6th January – This is the Feast of the Epiphany (Día de los Reyes Magos) when the Three Kings arrived in Bethlehem. For Spanish children this is the most important day of the year when they wake up to find that Los Reyes Magos (the Three Kings/Wise Men) have left gifts for them in their house. Santa may also leave them a token gift on December 25th but the Three Kings are the ones who set hearts racing with excitement, especially Baltasar who rides a donkey and is the one believed to leave the gifts. During the day of 6th the Three Kings continue their good work and are seen distributing gifts to children in hospitals all over Spain.

7th January – The day after receiving their gifts children return to school, their parents go back to work and Christmas in Spain is all over for another year.

We can help families or groups of friends have a truly unique and memorable Christmas and New Year Celebration in Andalucia. We will include decorations, recommend restaurants and excursions.

Just call us on: 0034 680 772416 or complete our contact us form.