Christmas in Moraira – Christmas is deeply religious in Spain, here’s an insight into how the Spanish celebrate it.
Christmas in Moraira. The most holy event of the year!
Immaculada, December 8
This is the feast of the immaculate conception ‘Immaculada, in Spanish’, and marks the beginning of the religious Christmas celebrations.
The ‘Big One’ lottery, December 22
All over Spain people never stray far from earshot of a TV or radio station, as the Christmas lottery is drawn over a period of a few hours. Everybody in Spain buys tickets for this famous lottery, in the hope of winning El Gordo (the big one). The winning number usually means that a fair number of people from the same village become a lot wealthier overnight. Apart from the big three prizes there are also thousands of smaller prizes shared by people all over Spain.
Christmas Eve, December 24
In Spain, Christmas Eve is called ‘La Noche Buena’ or ‘The Good Night’ and is celebrated with a large family feast that is eaten late that evening and lasting a few hours, this is the first big of the big festive celebrations. Christmas Eve is a time for celebrating in local neighbourhood bars and taverns and around the table with family and friends, it is not a time for gift exchanges or Santa Claus (That follows in January 6th, which is Epiphany, a religious holiday).
If you are in Spain whether on holiday or living here, you should know that businesses and shops close around 3pm that day to allow workers get home and prepare meals, or go out and have a pre-Christmas drink or two.
Christmas Day, December 25
Christmas in Moraira is celebrated with a family dinner at around midday. The typical Spanish family meal is again a very formal one. One would normally expect cold starters or cured meats, possibly some seafood delicacy and then for mains, turkey may make an appearance. Santa may deliver a small gift to some Spanish children, however the more traditional date for presents is January 6th.
Most of the present giving is the work of the Three Kings.
Santos Inocentes, December 28
December 28 is the feast of the “Santos Inocentes” (our equivalent of April Fool’s Day). Spanish people celebrate this day playing “inocentadas” (practical jokes). It’s actually a remembrance of the slaughter of the innocents by King Herod, so nothing funny there at all! However the connection between these two events is being able to say: ‘’I am innocent”.
New Year’s Eve, December 31
There are many different ways to celebrate New Year’s Eve, or Noche Vieja which means ‘The Old Night’ in Spanish. However, there is just one tradition which everyone takes part in. If you want to be part of this custom, you must buy 12 grapes and be ready to eat them when the clock strikes midnight. If you can eat one grape, one on each stroke of the clock, represents a year of happiness and luck. Spanish people usually eat the 12 grapes at home with their families or go to one of the main city squares.
The Wise Kings, January 5 and 6
On the night of January 5th the Three Wise Men or Three Kings as known in Spanish (Los Reyes Magos) visit the homes of all children, leaving their gifts. Spanish children receive gifts on this night. The Kings are particularly respected and admired in Spanish culture, and are named Melchior, Gaspar and Balthazar. It is believed that they travel through the countryside re-enacting their journey to Bethlehem every year at this time. Children leave their shoes filled with straw or barley for the tired camels that carry the kings through the busy night. By morning the camel food is gone and in place of the straw and barley are gifts. Shoes also may be placed on balconies this night in order that the Wise Men will fill them with gifts.
Christmas in Moraira: one of the many reasons to consider moving to the Costa Blanca. See our website if you are looking for quality property in Moraira.