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Christmas in Spain: Tradition & Fun
December 01, 2007

Welcome back at Spain Recipes' Newsletter!

This issue of our newsletter is completely devoted to Christmas! Hohoho! ;-)

Christmas time is here once again, and it's time to discover Christmas in Spain. To help you do so, we've prepared some interesting content that will help you enjoy an extraordinary Spanish Christmas experience!

Christmas in Spain: Tradition & Fun

Make the most of the Christmas holidays and come to Spain, where you will enjoy celebrations with deep-rooted tradition. At this time of year the streets of cities, towns and villages are decked with colour, lights and Christmas decorations, creating a magical atmosphere. Amongst all the celebrations there are two special ones not to be missed: the New Year's Eve fiesta and the Feast of the Three Kings. Take note.

On the night of New year's eve, called "Nochevieja" in Spanish, everyone fulfils a special tradition: they eat twelve grapes, one by one, keeping time with the clock as it strikes midnight. This is how we see in the New Year in Spain - an unusual, surprising tradition. What is more, if you manage to eat all the grapes in time, you are in for a year of prosperity and good luck. Be sure not to miss this moment with us.

Although the chiming of the bells is broadcast on live television throughout Spain, the best thing is to head for the scene of the celebration and take active part in the event. In Spain there is a place that has a special link with this tradition: the clock in Puerta del Sol Square in Madrid. Thousands of people congregate here to see in the year, mainly groups of friends and young people dressed up with hats, party blowers, horns, masks and jokes. There are still many hours of fun ahead. Hotels, pubs, bars and clubs usually hold their own New Year's Eve parties, where you can dance until dawn. Come and get carried away by this festive atmosphere. You won't regret it.

The magic of the Three Wise Men

Just six days later comes the most magical moment of the year, especially for the little ones. On 6 January they get their presents from the Three Wise Men. In Spain it is Melchior, Caspar and Balthazar who bring Christmas presents to children who have been good during the year. After writing a letter, in which they tell the Kings which presents they would like, the long-awaited day finally arrives. The Wise Men parade through the streets of cities, towns and villages all over Spain in traditional cavalcades. Their camels loaded with presents, they go through the streets handing out sweets, accompanied by their royal pages. Little by little the colourful floats go by, entertaining all the family. Of all these parades, the one in Alcoi, Alicante, is particularly outstanding - it is Spain's oldest. When night falls, children go to bed early to wait for Melchior, Caspar and Balthazar to come in through the window and leave presents in their shoes.

A good time to go shopping

Who doesn't go shopping at Christmas? At this time of year, the shops have a host of ideas and suggestions for presents that are sure to please. In many places you can find Christmas markets such as the one in Madrid's Plaza Mayor Square, selling seasonal decorations and figurines for the crib, along with joke items and novelties. From 1st January, make the most of a trip to the sales. This is definitely the best moment to get major discounts at all kinds of shops and shopping centres. While out shopping, nothing better than taking a break to try the traditional sweets to be found at this time of year. There is a huge variety available, although the star product is definitely turrón. Another of the most traditional Christmas sweets in Spain is marzipan, which is made with almonds and sugar and can usually be found in the form of "little shapes". We will be waiting for you in Spain this Christmas.

Related articles & Recipes

  • Christmas Spanish Recipes:The turkey, the true culinary symbol of Christmas, is giving way to the capon, the pularda, the guinea-fowl and other foreign products that are conquering Spanish tables. Find out what's on spanish tables during Christmas!
  • Set your Christmas Table: Need some help setting your christmas table? We give you some interesting tips!
  • Using up your Christmas leftovers: Once Christmas is over, you end up with lots of leftover food... Will you just bin it? Nope! Learn how to finish off with them and have fun!
  • Spanish Christmas Sweets: Spain's gastronomic wealth comes to its pinnacle at Christmas time. It is a time for parties and celebrations, and also for big meals with, of course, typical Christmas sweets. These are exquisite, traditional recipes, many of which have centuries of history - something not to be missed at this time of year.
  • Cocido: Cocido Madrileño - or simply cocido - is probably one of Spain's national dishes. Cocido is based on a vast cauldron, which simmers away all day, hardly bubbling. In the old days households made it every day, for poached meat used to be the hallmark of the middle-class kitchen. From this pot comes a series of magnificient things.
  • Escudella: Escudella means "bowl," and in Catalonia it is the name of a big stew-soup, escudella i carn d'olla, usually made for Christmas. The rustic taste of this stew is evident in the bones and feet, whose gelatin give such an unctuousness to the dish, and in the rough vegetables such as cabbage and turnips that were so common in the mountains and hills.
  • Turron: The typical Christmas dessert has been added to our Spanish Ingredient Directory. Find out more on this sweet wonder and forget about diets until January!

Merry Christmas to all of you!

Feliz Navidad!

Jordi Vallés

PS: Remember you can find many more Spanish recipes at and

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