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Spanish Christmas Traditions

Tradition 1: “El Gordo” Christmas lottery happens on the 22nd of December. This National Christmas lottery consists of one player winning 4 million euros. However, there is a peculiarity that makes it very special – the winning numbers are then sung by children in a chant!! Tradition 2: The meals served at Christmas are one of the most important aspects of Spanish culture. The most special night is the 24th of December (Christmas Eve) where a variety of dishes are eaten. Starters such as Iberico ham, seafood and cheeses are served, followed by dishes such as soup, fish or roast turkey. To finish off, Turron and other sweet treats are served as traditional Spanish desserts. Tradition 3: 6th January is said to be the day when the Three Wise Men arrive from the East, bringing presents to all the children. It is traditional for every child to write a letter to the Wise Men, to ask them for gifts in return for good behaviour. This is so popular that special mailboxes are even placed in leisure spaces for children to post their letters to them. Then, on the 5th of January, the Wise Men have seen processing and parading through the streets. Like the British believe in Santa Claus, the Spanish believe that Melchior, Caspar and Balthazar (the Three Wise Men) magically enter through the chimney at night to leave the presents. ​ Tradition 4: The 12 most festive grapes of the year are eaten as the clock strikes 12 on New Year’s Eve. This tradition promises luck and an original way to see the New Year. The idea is to eat one grape for each chime to welcome the New Year. Most Spanish people follow these chimes watching the Puerto del Sol clock in Madrid, on television, live or in an iconic landmark of their destination. ​ ​Tradition 5: Most people in Spain go to “La Misa del Gallo” (Midnight Mass or literately The Mass of the Rooster). It is called this because a rooster is supposed to have crowed the night Jesus was born. Christmas Eve is known as “Nochebuena”. In the days before Nochebuena, children take part in ‘piden el aguinaldo’ where they sing carols around their neighbourhood hoping to earn some money ​

By Matti and Filipa

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