SPANISH CHRISTMAS

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SPANISH CHRISTMAS

  1. 1. SPANISH CHRISTMAS TRADITION
  2. 2. CALENDAR OF CHRISTMAS EVENTS: 21st December – In a few cities including the celebration of Hogueras (bonfires) takes place. This date marks the winter solstice (shortest day) and where it is celebrated involves people jumping through fires to protect themselves against illness. 22nd December – All over Spain people never stray far from a TV or radio as the Christmas lottery is drawn over a period of many hours. Everybody in Spain buys tickets for this lottery in the hope of winning El Gordo (the fat one) and the winning number usually means that a good number of people from the same village become a lot better off overnight. Besides the big three prizes there are thousands of smaller prizes shared by people all over Spain. 24th December – Christmas Eve is called Nochebuena in Spanish (Goodnight) and it is the most important family gathering of the year. In the evening people often meet early for a few drinks with friends then return home to enjoy a meal with the family. Most bars and restaurants close in the evening. Prawn starters followed by roast lamb would be a typical meal rounded off with a typically Christmas sweet called turrón which is a nougat made of toasted sweet almonds. Another typical festive sweet is called Polvorones which is made from almonds, flour and sugar. Cava, champagne, would be the chosen drink for the Christmas toast though plenty fine Spanish wines will also be consumed with the meal. 25th December – Children may receive a small gift 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 yet it is not a day of great celebration but rather 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 becoming more common to see families eating out on the afternoon of Christmas day.
  3. 3. 28th December – This is the day of Santos Inocentes (Holy Innocents) and is theequivalent of April Fools’ Day when people play practical jokes on one another. Oftenthe national media will include a nonsense story in their broadcasts. In some villagesyoungsters light bonfires and one of them acts as the mayor who orders townspeopleto carry out civic tasks such as sweeping the streets. Refusal to comply results infines which are used to pay for the celebration.31st December – New Year’s Eve is known as NocheVieja. It is a big celebration allover the country with street parties and special nights in hotels and clubseverywhere. Until midnight people tend to stay at home and on the stroke ofmidnight it is traditional to eat 12 grapes, one on each stroke of the clock to bringgood luck for the new year. In Madrid and other main cities revellers congregate inthe main square (Puerta del Sol in Madrid) and eat the grapes along with acelebratory bottle of cava then head out into the night until after sunrise.1st January – A low key public holiday with plenty people sleeping off theirexcesses.
  4. 4. 5th January – There are processions all over Spain this evening where sweets are thrown fromthe floats to all the people who come out to watch. Every town has its own variation such as inthe 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 ThreeKings arrived in Bethlehem. For Spanish children this is the most important day of the year whenthey wake up to find that Los Reyes Magos (the Three Kings/Wise Men) have left gifts for themin their house. Santa may leave them a token gift on December 25th but the Three Kings aretheir favourites, especially Baltasar who rides a donkey and is the one believed to leave thegifts. During the day of 6th the Three Kings continue their good work and are seen distributinggifts to children in hospitals all over Spain.
  5. 5. 21st December – In a few cities including the celebration ofHogueras (bonfires) takes place. This date marks the winter solstice(shortest day) and where it is celebrated involves people jumpingthrough fires to protect themselves against illness.22nd December – All over Spain people never stray far from a TVor radio as the Christmas lottery is drawn over a period of manyhours. Everybody in Spain buys tickets for this lottery in the hope ofwinning El Gordo (the fat one), the results are sang by SanIldefonso School students as the balls come out of the machine.The winning number usually means that a good number of peoplefrom the same village become a lot better off overnight. Besides thebig three prizes there are thousands of smaller prizes shared bypeople all over Spain.
  6. 6. 24th December – Christmas Eve is called Nochebuena in Spanish (Goodnight) and itis the most important family gathering of the year. In the evening people often meetearly for a few drinks with friends then return home to enjoy a meal with the family...Prawn starters followed by roast lamb would be a typical meal or Pavo Trufado deNavidad which is Turkey stuffed with truffles (the mushrooms, not the chocolate ones!).This can be prepare with all kinds of different seafood, from shellfish and mollusks, tolobster and small edible crabs or rounded off with a typically Christmas sweet calledturrón which is a nougat made of toasted sweet almonds. Another typical festive sweet is called Polvorones which is made from almonds, flour and sugar. Cava, champagne, wouldbe the chosen drink for the Christmas toast though plenty fine Spanish wines will also beconsumed with the meal. After the meal, family members gather around the Christmastree and sing Christmas carols and hymns of Christendom. The rejoicing continuesthrough the wee hours of the morning. An old Spanish verse says..."Esta noche es Noche-Buena, Y no es noche de dormir" (This is the goodnight,therefore it is not meant for sleep.)
  7. 7. A Midnight Mass called Misa del Gallo (Rooster’s Mass) is alsocelebrated to commemorate the birth of Jesus. ). It is called thisbecause a rooster is supposed to have crowed the night that Jesuswas born. 25th December – Most Spanish children do not address their letters to Santa Claus, but to the Three Wise Men. Children may receive a small gift 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 yet it is not a day of great celebration but rather 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 becoming more common to see families eating out on the afternoon of Christmas day.
  8. 8. 28th December – This is the day of Santos Inocentes (Holy Innocents)and is the equivalent of April Fools’ Day. We commemorate the BiblicalHerod’s slaughter when people all over the world remember the babiesthat were killed on the orders of King Herod when he was trying to kill thebaby Jesus.People play practical jokes on one another. Often the national media will include a nonsense story in their broadcasts. In some villages youngsters light bonfires and one of them acts as the mayorwho orders townspeople to carry out civic tasks such as sweeping the streets. Refusal to comply results in fines which are used to pay forthe celebration. If you trick someone, you can call them Inocente, inocente which means innocent, innocent.
  9. 9. 31st December – New Year’s Eve is known as NocheVieja. It is a bigcelebration all over the country with street parties and special nights inhotels and clubs everywhere. Until midnight people tend to stay at homeand on the stroke of midnight it is traditional to eat 12 grapes, one oneach stroke of the clock to bring good luck for the new year. In Madrid and other main cities revellers 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 until after sunrise.1st January – A low key public holidaywith plenty people sleeping off theirexcesses.
  10. 10. 5th January – There are processions all over Spain this evening where sweets are thrown from the floats to all the people who come out to watch. 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. Big parades are organized in which the Three Men participate in person, even though they have a lot of work to do that night. This day the children leave shoes on windowsills or balconies or under the Christmas Tree to be filled with presents. Gifts are often left by children for the Kings, a class of Cognac for each King, a satsuma and some walnuts. Sometimes a bucket of water is left for the camels that bring the Kings!If the children have been bad, the Kingsmight leave pieces of coal made out ofsugar in the presents!
  11. 11. 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 themost important day of the year when they wake up to find that Los ReyesMagos (the Three Kings/Wise Men) have left gifts for them in their house. They previously have written letters to the 3Kings. Santa may leave them a token gift on December 25th but the Three Kings are their favourites, especially Baltasar. During the day of 6th the Three Kings continue their good work and are seen distributing gifts to children in hospitals all over Spain.
  12. 12. The Three Kings in the the Spanish Epiphany are: Gaspar, who has brown hair and a brown beard (or no beard!) and wears a green cloak and a gold crown with green jewels on it. He is the King of Sheba. Gaspar represents the Frankincense brought to Jesus. Frankincense is sometimes used in worship in Churches and showed that people worship Jesus. Melchior, who has long white hair and a white beard and wears a gold cloak. He is the King of Arabia. Melchior represents the Gold brought to Jesus. Gold is associated with Kings and Christians believe that Jesus is the King of Kings.Balthazar, who has black skin and ablack beard (or no beard!) and wearsa purple cloak. He is the King of Tarseand Egypt. Balthazar represents thegift of Myrrh that was brought toJesus. Myrrh is a perfume that is puton dead bodies to make them smellnice and showed that Jesus wouldsuffer and die.
  13. 13. WE JUST HAVE SEEN OUR CHRISTMAS CALENDAR BUT LET’S SEE OTHER SPANISH CHRISTMAS TRADITION:The street Christmas lightsThe Nativity Scenes: A Nativity Scene is a depiction of the birth of Jesus, generally with small figures. It depicts at least the Child Jesus in the crib, the Virgin Mary and St. Joseph, but there are also a lot of other figures, such as shepherds, sheeps, villagers, the Three Wise Men on camels….
  14. 14. Sand Nativity Scene of our city, LasPalmas Every Christmas, the city of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria gets full of Nativity Scenes, and Christmas trees, however the most impressive and original is made of sand in Las Canteras Beach: the Sand Nativity Scene. With a different theme every year, the sand of our Las Canteras Beach serves as a natural scenario and raw material to materialise the inspiration of the world’s best artists in sand sculpture that come to our city to show us their Christmas works of art. It is attended by thousands of local and foreign visitors who some of them come to our city just to see the show.
  15. 15. The Christmas trees : are common not only in the streets also in the home but they don’t appear until the second half of December.Spanish christmas food : Turrón. Nougat candy, usually made with honey, sugar, egg white and almonds, and shaped into rectangular tablets.
  16. 16. Mantecado. Traditional Spanish Christmas sweet made mainly with lard, flour and sugar. Other common ingredients include cinnamon and sesame seeds.Polvorón. Basically it is a kind of mantecado, oval shaped, and usually coveredwith powdered sugar.Roscón de reyes. king cake. On January 6, it is a tradition to eat a king cake witha small trinket hidden inside. The person who finds it will have a lucky year.
  17. 17.  Mazapán. marzipan. Champán. champagne. Cava. Another kind of sparkling wine, like champagne, but it is produced in Spain.
  18. 18. WE HOPE SEE YOU IN LAS PALMAS SOMECHRISTMAS

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