Christmas… Christmas…Christmas! The most popular yearly festival that everyone loves!
During Christmas time, a lot of people in Spain go to Midnight Mass (in Spanish “La Misma Del Gallo”). Most of the families eat their main Christmas meal before the service. The most known traditional Spanish dinner is “Pavo Trufado de Navidad” which is turkey filled with truffels. Depending on the region in Spain the traditional Christmas dinner is different. For example in Galicia, a region in north-west Spain, it is common to eat seafood for Christmas. After the midnight service the streets fill up quickly. There you can find people carrying torches, people playing guitars and beating on tambourines and drums. A Spanish proverb is “Esta Noche es Nochebuena, y no es noche de dormir”. That means “Tonight is the good night and is not meant for sleeping”.
As known in Spain are spoken four languages. Next to the official language “Castellano” (Spanish) there is Galego (Galician), Catalan and Basque (Vasco). So “Merry Christmas” in Castellano is “Feliz Navidad”, in Galego “Bo Nadal”, in Catalan “Bon Nadal” and in Vasco “Eguberri on”.
December 28th is called “Día de los santos inocentes”. It is comparable with the April fool’s day in the UK, the US and in other countries. The whole country is trying to trick each other with silly stories and sometimes… even the TV tells some funny stories.
Spain is different to other countries as usually children get the majority of their presents on Christmas day but most of the presents they receive on January 5th, which is a holiday called Epiphany. So the night before the children leave there shoes to get presents the next day.
In comparison with other countries, in Spain, Christmas is not a big commercial occasion like in other countries for example the US or the UK. In Spain it is more characterized by tradition. Christmas lights are only in the main cities with which they start in December. In contrast most of the western countries start with Christmas commercial at the end of summer and with the Christmas decoration at the end of October. You can find Christmas trees everywhere, outside at big public places, in shops, at home etc. In Spain though they only start with the decoration at the second half of December which is in comparison to the other countries far too late.
So all in all Christmas time in Spain is a very traditional occasion which implied lots of different traditions and customs.