It’s that time of year again, when children write their wish lists, beautiful lights adorn cities and homes, and magic fills the air. It’s Christmastime, and families all over the world have their own unique ways of celebrating it. In this post, we’ll tell you a little more about Spanish Christmas traditions that you might even want to try this year!
Spanish Christmas Traditions: Nativity Scenes
Although the celebration has become more of a commercial festival in recent times, as Spain is a Catholic country, it’s important for Spaniards to remember the religious roots of the holiday: the birth of Jesus. One of the main ways that the Spanish people commemorate the birth of Jesus is with Nativity Scenes. Most families will have one in their home, and each town and city will have a big Nativity Scene in their main square. This tradition is over 7 centuries old, and Nativity Scenes have evolved with the times – nowadays they’ll have moving pieces and special effects!
Turrons are a popular sweet treat traditionally eaten at Christmas in Spain. They are sticks of honey and ground and toasted almonds. There are two main types of turron, hard turrons that come from Alicante, which are made with more almonds, and soft turrons that come from Jijona, and contain less almonds. Nowadays, you can get all kinds of turrons, the most popular being ones coated in chocolate.
Spanish Christmas Traditions: The Christmas Lottery
This is a massive tradition in Spain, and the biggest lottery in the world due to its huge main prize, also known as ‘El Gordo’. It is a tradition that dates back to 1812, making it the second-longest lottery in the world, and of course is still hugely popular today. People buy their tickets at local kiosks and wait anxiously until the 22nd of December, when the numbers are drawn live on national television, with a choir of children singing out the winning numbers and prizes.
Spanish Christmas Traditions: Los Reyes Magos
Even though this tradition falls after the new year, on the 6th of January, it still remains an integral part of Christmas celebrations for families all over Spain. Instead of writing Christmas lists for Santa Claus or Father Christmas, Spanish children write to the Three Kings, who brought Jesus gifts of Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh. Every year, the night before the 6th of January, children leave out a pair of shoes so that the Three Kings can leave them their presents. The next day, they’ll open their presents, and then attend the parade of the Three Kings. You can read more about this tradition on this post on our blog.
Spanish Christmas Traditions: The day of the innocents
This day falls a few days after Christmas, on the 28th of December, and is similar to April Fool’s Day in the English-speaking world. Children and adults alike pull pranks on each other, and even some corporations like news companies join in the fun. This tradition also has biblical roots, to when Kind Herod ordered the execution of all male babies under the age of two, to make sure that he got rid of the “New King” Jesus.
If you would like to experience some of these traditions for yourself, make sure to head over to our website and choose one of our many Spanish courses for Christmas time next year.
Are there any similar traditions in your country? Let us know in the comments!