Christmas in Catalonia
One of the most magical times of the year is approaching. Most of us are already busy preparing the tree, the gifts, the menus and the New Year’s resolutions… in which we hope you won’t forget to add a getaway to the Vistabella next year! But Christmas doesn’t feel the same everywhere, so we would like to explain you how we live it here.
Christmas in Spain is exceptionally long compared to the rest of Europe. The "Christmas holidays" begin on December 24th and last until January 6th. During these days we live many family traditions and there are some that are especially "different". Did you know that in Spain gifts are brought by the Magi (Three Kings)? Although the figure of Santa Claus is quite widespread due to Anglo-Saxon influences and cinema, in most homes the gifts arrive on January 6th from the hand of Their Majesties: the Magi. You can find here more traditions and curiosities:
- On the night of December 24th, Christmas Eve, the Catalan children "Cagan el Tió". The "Tió" is a wooden trunk that children feed during December with peels under the Christmas tree covered with a blanket. That night children beat the “Tió” with a stick and sing songs so it will "shit" them gifts.
- The Christmas meal on December 25th is usually eternal. It is traditional to eat that day "Escudella i carn d'olla" which is a festive broth with “galets” (like big elbow pasta) and "pilota" (a kind of meatball) with vegetables and stews served separately. Nougat, “mantecados” (crumbly Christmas biscuits), rolled wafers and muscatel will never be missing from the table. And if there are children in the family, they will be probably recite a poem and/or sing a Christmas song.
- During these dates "Els Pastorets" is performed by amateur theatre companies in many villages. A theatrical staging of the birth of Jesus, the struggle between good and evil with angels and demons and the custom of the shepherds. You can also visit "living Manger" performances in which it is possible to walk through the birth of Jesus through different scenes with living characters using the environment, a place of historical interest or the historic points.
- Sant Esteve is celebrated on December the 26th in Catalonia. It is traditionally the day we reunite with the family that we have not been able to see on Christmas. It is also typical to take advantage of leftovers from the "carn d'olla" of the previous day to prepare tasty cannelloni.
- Although it has faded into the background, December 28th is April Fool’s day in Spain, so it`s typical to spend jokes to family and friends.
- At the end of the year we have some rituals! You have to wear red underwear, you have to eat the 12 lucky grapes (one for each stroke) and finally make a toast with cava. It is a day to dine with friends and celebrate the beginning of a new year.
- And finally the Christmas presents arrive! On the night of January 5th, the Magi arrive to all the towns and cities, in a parade in which the children deliver their letters and the king’s helpers distribute candy and illusion. During the night the Magi will be leaving their gifts to all the children while they sleep!!
- On the morning of January 6th, gifts are unwrapped, toys are assembled and new clothes are worn. It is also the last formal meal with the family in which you cannot miss the "roscón de reyes", a sweet bread dough cake that hides inside a figurine of a king and a "bean", the fortunate that bites the bean must pay the roscón!
The food always plays a big role in all the Spanish celebrations and it couldn't be less at Christmas! And although each region has its own culinary peculiarities, a toast with cava is never missed on a Christmas table.
We want to give a toast with our families, but also with our customers and friends, so from the Vistabella we toast to see each other again next year! Good health and happiness to all! Cheers!!