A Guide to Christmas Traditions in Spain

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Are you planning a trip to Spain during the holiday season? Then you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the country’s unique Christmas traditions.

Understanding Spain’s holiday customs will help you immerse yourself deeply in the country’s culture, enjoying every part of the season—from dancing in parades to testing your luck at a big lottery prize!

To help you on your next trip, here is a quick guide to the most popular Christmas traditions in Spain.

  1. The Three Kings 

While western Christmas traditions typically focus on Santa Claus, Father Christmas, or St Nick, Spanish children instead receive gifts from The Three Kings (or The Three Wise Men). 

Three Kings parades take place each year on the 5th of January, where the three men travel through town on floats, passing out sweets to local kids. After the parade, Spanish children leave their shoes by the front door, waiting for them to fill with gifts.

  1. Midnight Mass

Many Spaniards attend a Midnight Nass on Christmas Eve known as Rooster’s Mass or La Misa Del Gallo each year. The festival takes it name from the idea of a rooster crowing on the night of Jesus’s birth.

Celebrations begin with families lighting small oil lamps in their homes before heading to church to listen to the Midnight Mass. The most popular La Misa Del Gallo service occurs in the Benedictine monastery Santa Maria de Montserrat, built upon the Montserrat mountain range’s steep cliffs.

  1. Christmas Markets

Family-friendly Christmas markets happen all over the country throughout the season, promising a range of fresh pastries, cheeses, wines, and much more for visitors to enjoy. Artisan markets also offer unique crafts and creations such as wooden nativity figures.

Plan to visit the markets in Barcelona, Saville, Madrid or another of Spain’s beautiful cities to enjoy a wonderfully festive shopping experience.

  1. Hearty Feasts and Sweet Treats

They’ll be no shortage of wholesome feasts and delectable treats on your next Spanish Christmas holiday. For a genuine cultural experience, make sure to sink your teeth into one of the following traditional festive foods:

  • Entremeses (appetiser plates featuring sliced meats and local cheeses),
  • Roast lamb (the perfect Christmas Eve or Christmas dinner),
  • Galets soup (a popular Catalan dish featuring stuffed pasta shells served in a meaty soup),
  • Turrón (a kind of nougat usually made from almonds, walnuts, or peanuts).
  • Roscón de Reyes (a type of Christmas cake filled with candied fruit).
  1. The Christmas Lottery

The Spanish Christmas Lottery, known as Lotería de Navidad or El Gordo, is the largest lottery draw in the world by total prize payout. When December rolls around, Spanish locals and visitors will grab a lottery ticket or two while doing their holiday shopping, all hoping for a chance at the jackpot.

The El Gordo draw takes place on the 22nd of December each year. In 2017, the grand prize money was €720 million or approximately $1.07 million in Australian dollars, with a maximum total payout of €2.31 billion or approximately AUD$3.45 billion!

Celebrate Spanish style

Spain has an array of vibrant and unique Christmas traditions locals and visitors can enjoy. Try participating in a few of these customs on your next visit to enjoy a genuine Spanish holiday experience with the help of Designer Journeys.

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