PESSEBRE (Crib)The “Pessebre” is the representation of the birth of Jesus Christ. This is oftenreferred to as “The Nativity” scene. We can find several characters and scenariosof the representation of Christ’s birth.The Birth: there is Jesus, Virgin Mary and Joseph, behind them there is a muleand a bull.At the top of the stable, there is the Northern Star and an angel that announcesto the shepherds that Jesus is being born. On the way to the stable there are the“Tres Reis Mags d’Orient” (Three Wise Men). They follow the Northern Star tomeet Jesus and give him presents: gold, myrrh and incense. In the corner of therepresentation, there is the “Caganer” (Popular Catalan representation that is of ashepherd pooing, you can see it in the picture on the right). EL CALENDARI D’ADVENT (Advent Calendar)It is a special calendar of December. There is an envelope for each day with asurprise in it. It can be a chocolate or just a task that children have to do likesinging a song or saying a poem...
L’AMIC INVISIBLE (The invisible friend)The pupils write their names on a piece of paper. Later they put the pieces ofpaper all in a box, they shake it and take one without looking. Once everyone hasgot a paper with the name of the invisible friend written on it they have to buy orprepare a present for the invisible friend. They have to keep the present a secretuntil the person receives the present and finds out who the invisible friend is.Sometimes this is called ”Secret Santa” in theUK. LA NIT DE NADAL (Christmas Eve) On Christmas Eve, children make “El Tió” “poo”. “El Tió” is a trunk which appears in children’s houses some days beforeChristmas. We feed him and on thatspecial night, after singing a song andhitting it with a stick, it “poos” sweetsand small presents. The popular song that has to be sung is: Tió, tió, caga torró, d’aquell tan bo, si no tens més caga diners, si no tens prou caga un ou.
We also have a special dinner with family and some friends, play games, singcarols, do “amic invisible” (invisible friend) and recite a poem which thechildren have studied in school the days before Christmas. NADALES (Carols)On the 22nd of December all the children from school sing in different placesaround town: in the City Hall, Social Services, New Square…etc. They would havelearned all the Carols at school in December. EL DIA DE NADAL (Christmas Day)We commemorate Jesus Christ’s birth. It is typicalto eat “Escudella” (soup of pasta shells and fillingchicken). We also cannot forget “torrons” (nougats)and “neules” (wafers) as desserts. Everything isaccompanied with “cava” (Catalan champagne). We also sing carols andrecite the poem which we have studied in the school.
SANT ESTEVE (Saint Steve´s Day - Boxing Day) We eat cannelloni cooked with the meat that has been left over from Christmas Day. EL DIA DELS INNOCENTS (Innocent’s Day)Saint Innocent’s day, the 28th of December: we celebrate this day byplaying jokes on our friends and family. It is celebrated all aroundSpain and different South American countries and it’s similar to deApril Fools’ Day in UK and to the Poisson April from France, bothcelebrated the 1st of April.The name of this celebration possibly has its origin in a Christianlegend that explains that when King Erodes was informed about JesusChrist’s birth, Erodes ordered to kill all children born in Bethlehem,killing thousands of innocent children.Traditionally, people stick a paper doll on the back of friends orpeople walking on the street. This makes children laugh a lot.Nowadays, the most usual thing to do is to make jokes to family andcloser friends by telling incredible lies, sticking paper dolls…etc. TV,radios and newspapers also contribute to the jokes by publishingfalse news.
L’HOME DELS NASSOS (Man with many noses)The “Home dels nassos” is a Catalan mythological character thathas as many noses as days of the year (365). Legend goes that theonly day you can see him is the last day of the year, the 31st ofDecember, (which means he could look like any other man, becauseaccording to the story, one of his noses drops off as each daypasses).Usually people explain to their children that the “Home delsnassos” walks around the city during this day. So children believe that theymight see a character with a lot of noses hiding in the main square of thecity. They don’t think about the fact that it is the last day of the year, andthe character only has actuallty only got one nose left! In conclusion,everybody is (or could be) the “Home dels nassos”. CAP D’ANY (NEW YEAR´S EVE)… THE MOST MAGICAL NIGHT OF THE YEAROn this night children go to bed very late, at least at midnight when the Churchbells ring to welcome the New Year.Before the year ends everybody wears smart clothes and set a beautiful tablewith a very big meal.There are two big moments in the night: the emotion of hearingthe clock striking four times just before midnight and the and thelast bell of the Church at midnight where all the people yell: “BONANY NOU” (Happy New Year) and share kisses and hugs and makea toast with “cava” (Catalan champagne).While the bells are ringing people have to eat grapes - twelve individual grapes intotal, one for each ring of the bell on behalf of having a very good New Year.On this night people usually wear red underwear.Why do we eat grapes when the bells are ringing?
This tradition has its origins because of an excess of grapes in Catalonia a longtime ago. With the purpose of not wasting food they thought it would be a verygood idea to eat them on this night. FUMERA (Smoke)“Fumera” is a mysterious character that has seveneyes: four in the front, two behind and one in a finger.He hears everything that happens. He is a messenger ofThe Three Wise Men; so he is in charge of telling themif children have been good. PATGE (Page) The 20th of December the Page of the Three Wise Men goes into the classrooms and picks up the letters from the children addressed to the Three Wise Men.CAVALCADA DE REIS (RIDING OF THE KING) 5th January On this evening, The Three Wise Men (Kings) arrive from The East. People go out onto the streets where they watch the kings pass by. We put stockings out in order to indicate to the Wise Men where the presents go. We also put some food and drinks out for the men and their camels.
The popular song to welcome the Three Wise Men is:Que visquin els reis, de l’Orient!Que porten coses a tota la gent.Una botifarra per la meva mareI un got de vi pel meu padrí.Un tros de coca per la meva bocaI un tros de pa pel meu germà. FANALETS (Chinese Lanterns)Children aged from 3 till 7 years old make a very precious lantern.We make it with lots of different materials. It is used whilstwaiting for the Three Wise Men. Children light up the lanterns while the Three Wise Men walk all over the streets throwing sweets to kids.
DIA DE REIS (Kings’ Day) 6th January Children wake up with lot of excitement because it is this day that they receive presents from The Three Wise Men of The East. The children had written a letter each with a list of all the presents they want some days before. If they have been naughty during the year, they receive coal. At noon we eat “Tortell de Reis”(traditional cake) as dessert, which has a figure of aking and a bean inside. Whoever finds the king becomesa king and gets a crown, and whoever finds the bean hasto pay for the cake.