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 Christmas & New Year in Spain

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Posts : 496
Join date : 2010-05-28
Age : 65
Location : Alcudia

PostSubject: Christmas & New Year in Spain   Sun Jan 02, 2011 2:14 am

Christmas Eve is known as Nochebuena in Spain and there are two important traditions to undertake. One is attending the Christmas Mass and the second is enjoying a meal with family and friends.

What is eaten on Nochebuena is governed by what region you live in as each region has its own specialties but it is quite common to start with a seafood dish, follow with a bowl of homemade soup and then the main meal will be roast lamb or fish. For dessert there are a lot to choose from including turrón (made from honey, eggs and almonds).

In most of Spain Christmas lasts from 24 December to 6 January and is referred to just as “Navidad”. Nativity scenes are displayed in most households.

Following the large family dinner on Christmas Eve children usually receive one or two presents on Christmas Day brought by “Papá Noel" but their main presents are kept until 5th January.

On 31st January (Nochevieja) there is a family dinner traditionally of shrimp, lamb or capon and Spanish tradition says that wearning new red underwear on New Year’s Eve brings good luck. The actual countdown is normally followed from the clock on top of the Casa de Correos building in Puerta del Sol square in Madrid. It is traditional to eat twelve grapes, one on each chime of the clock. This tradition dates back to 1909, when grape growers in Alicante thought of it as a way to cut down on the large production surplus they had had that year. Nowadays, the tradition is followed by almost every Spaniard. After the clock has finished striking twelve, people greet each other and toast with sparkling wine such as cava or champagne.

After the family dinner and the grapes, many young people attend New Year parties at pubs, discothèques and similar places (these parties are called cotillones de nochevieja). Parties usually last until the next morning and range from small, personal celebrations at local bars to huge parties with guests numbering the thousands at hotel convention rooms.

Early next morning, they usually gather to have the traditional winter breakfast of chocolate con churros (xurros amb xocolata in Catalan, xurros en xocolate in Valencian), hot chocolate and fried pastry.

On 5 January a huge parade (La Cabalgata or cavalcade) welcomes the Three Kings to the city. Children put their shoes in the window on 5 January in the hope that the Three Wise Men will deliver presents to them.


Life is far too important to be taken seriously - Oscar Wilde
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