The most important traditions of Christmas in Spain

During the Christmas period many people live the most important date of the whole year; a unique moment and the most special that is shared with friends and / or family.

From this magical moment several customs and traditions have emerged that are followed year after year. We have collected some of the most popular and known in our country.

Christmas lottery

The Christmas Lottery is celebrated on December 22 and is considered the kick-off to a few days of festivals and meetings in which the birth of Christ is celebrated. It was held for the first time in 1812 to increase public finances without harming taxpayers.

A very popular custom in all the municipalities of Spain, but especially in "Sort", a town of Lleida that in Castilian means precisely "Luck"; There are many people who go to their lottery administration, La Bruixa d'OR, in search of their lottery tickets.

Welcome the new year at Puerta del Sol

An essential appointment on the night of December 31 is the one that thousands of people have each New Year's Eve at the Puerta del Sol in Madrid. The tradition of welcoming the new year there began in the nineteenth century, when a surplus of grapes in Alicante forced to take this fruit during the last night of the year. Thus, with the passage of time this custom was filled with meaning; currently symbolizes good luck and prosperity for the new year that begins.

wise men

The Magic of the Magi begins on January 5, when in the late afternoon you can see them in the cavalcades that are organized in all parts of our country. That same night they visit the houses of the youngest and leave them gifts that they open on the morning of January 6. A tradition that can not be missed during this day is the Roscón de Reyes, which is shared with family and / or friends during what is known as Comida de Reyes.

Local customs

Each autonomous community of Spain has a series of traditions related to Christmas. Here are some of the best known:

  • Galicia - Apalpador: The Apalpador is a coal that comes from the mountains located in the east of Galicia. A rude character, with a pipe and a beret. During the nights of December 24 and 31, it goes down to the Galician municipalities to "feel" the bellies of the little ones and leave them some presents or chestnuts.
  • Canary Islands - Easter Ranches: The Easter Ranches are groups of music that went out to collect alms with which to celebrate masses in honor of the deceased since the sixteenth century; They used to be held during the month of November. With the passage of time the tradition extended until Christmas and, to this day, it continues being very popular in some municipalities of the Islands like Teguise.
  • Navarre and the Basque Country - Olentzero: In the north of the peninsula, in the communities of Navarre and the Basque Country, we find the Olentzero, a good-natured character who, during the night of December 24, comes down from the mountain to bring gifts to children.
  • Catalonia and Aragón - Caga Tió: A few days before Christmas, in Catalonia and Aragon, it is customary for parents to take home a log that the little ones are responsible for feeding until the night of December 24th. On that day a very special rite takes place: The children sing around him while they beat him with wooden sticks to make him "shit" all kinds of goodies.

At Christmas there are all kinds of traditions that are passed down from generation to generation. There are some generals, which are carried out in all parts of the country, such as the Christmas Lottery, and other specific ones that take place in one or several autonomous communities. ThemesChristmas

Christmas in Spain. Facts, Traditions & Culture. #newlyspanish (March 2023)