Christmas is celebrated all over the world. Each country has different customs and traditions for celebrating Christmas, including Spain. In Spain, the official Christmas season is from December 8th to January 6th. On Christmas Eve, every house is decorated with small oil lamps and nativity scenes. After midnight mass (La Misa Del Gallo / The Mass of the Rooster), the streets are filled with dancers and spectators. For the Spanish, Christmas is a time for families to get together and rejoice together. Children receive gifts on January 6th, Epiphany.
Other important Christmas traditions in Spain are:
- Hogueras is on December 21st. It is a tradition where the Spanish people make a bonfire and jump over it. They do this to symbolically protect themselves against illness.
- “Swinging” is also completely unique to Spain. People put up swing sets in courtyards and plazas, and people swing throughout Christmas Day while others sing and play music.
- Doing Nochebuena which is the most important moment in the celebration of Christmas. Every family gets together on Christmas Eve to rejoice and eat together. The main dish is Pavo Trufado de Navidad (a big turkey stuffed with truffles) and Turron (a kind of almond candy).
- Children in Spain don’t receive their gifts until January 6th, on Epiphany, or in Spain, Three Kings Day. Children put out their shoes on a windowsill, balcony, or underneath the Christmas tree, to be filled with receive gifts from the Three Kings. Three Kings are the Magi who brought gifts to Jesus.
In addition to the celebration of Christmas, the Spanish also have a unique tradition to welcome the New Year, called Nochevieja or The Old Night. A person is supposed to eat 12 grapes with the 12 strokes of midnight. If a person accomplishes this, he will be lucky in the new year.
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