10 Interesting Facts about Christmas in Spain

    10 Interesting Facts about Christmas in Spain

    Christmas in Spain is a festive and joyous time of year, filled with unique traditions and cultural events. From extravagant nativity scenes to delicious culinary delights, there are plenty of interesting facts about Christmas in Spain that are worth exploring.

    Here are 10 fascinating facts to share:

    1. Spanish Christmas Lottery: The Spanish Christmas Lottery, known as “El Gordo” (the fat one), is one of the oldest lotteries in the world. Each year on December 22nd, Spaniards gather around their televisions to watch the live drawing of the lottery numbers, with millions of euros in prizes at stake.

    2. La Nochebuena: Christmas Eve, known as “La Nochebuena”, is an important celebration in Spain. Families come together for a festive dinner, often starting with a seafood dish called “mariscada” and ending with a special dessert known as “turrón”, made with almonds and honey.

    3. The Yule Log: In many regions of Spain, it is customary to burn a “Yule log” called “El Tió” or “Caga Tió” on Christmas Eve. This hollowed-out log is filled with sweets and small gifts, and children hit it with sticks while singing traditional songs to make it “defecate” the treats.

    4. El Belén: Nativity scenes, known as “El Belén” or “El Portal”, are an integral part of Spanish Christmas decorations. These scenes are often elaborate, featuring not only the typical characters such as Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus, but also local figures such as fishermen, bakers, and even politicians.

    5. The Night of the Radishes: On December 23rd in Oaxaca, Spain, an unusual tradition takes place called “La Noche de los Rábanos” or “The Night of the Radishes”. Participants carve and sculpt radishes into intricate designs, creating a unique and festive display that attracts tourists from all over the world.

    6. Reyes Magos: Christmas celebrations in Spain extend beyond December 25th. On January 6th, the day of Epiphany, the arrival of the Three Wise Men, or “Reyes Magos”, is celebrated with parades and processions in many cities and towns. Children eagerly await their gifts, which are traditionally delivered by the Three Wise Men.

    7. El Caga Tió: In the region of Catalonia, an alternative to Santa Claus known as “El Caga Tió” is popular. A wooden log with a smiling face and a red hat, El Caga Tió delivers small gifts and sweets when children beat it with sticks while singing traditional songs.

    8. The Roscón de Reyes: The Roscón de Reyes, or Kings’ Ring, is a traditional Spanish cake enjoyed on January 6th. Shaped like a ring and often decorated with candied fruits, this delicious treat is usually filled with whipped cream or cream and contains a hidden surprise—a small figure and a bean. Finding the figure means you’ll have good luck, while finding the bean means you’ll have to pay for the cake next year!

    9. The Twelve Grapes: A quintessential Spanish New Year’s Eve tradition is known as “Las doce uvas de la suerte” or “The Twelve Grapes of Luck”. Spaniards eat 12 grapes, one at each stroke of midnight, to bring good luck for the coming year.

    10. The Dance of the Sgambellotti: In the village of Bueño, Spain, a unique dance takes place on Christmas Day called the “Dance of the Sgambellotti”. Men dress up in sheepskin costumes and masks, wielding sticks that they use to imitate shepherds. The dance is believed to bring good luck and fertility to the village.

    Christmas and New Year’s Eve in Spain increasingly popular

    More and more people are choosing to go to Spain for Christmas or New Year’s Eve, which can also be seen by the interest in renting apartments or villas just during this period.

    In Spain, Christmas is a family holiday, spent among relatives and friends. However, they have a more cheerful and fun character than in most of the other countries.

    The Costa del sol is a year-round fiesta and mild winter, which convinces many people to stay in Andalusia for longer. In Marbella in December the temperature is as high as 20 °C, and in the evening, thanks to beautiful illuminations, you can feel the festive mood.

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