Christmas traditions in Spain are slightly different to the ones celebrated in Catalonia. For that reason, we would like to give you an overview of these different (weird, unusual and special) cultural events that take place here during December.
CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS IN CATALONIA
The Caga Tió is basically a small or big (depending on the occasion) wooden log that wears a Christmas red hat and a smiley face. Kids usually get it around early December. Their task is to take care of it until the log “poos” them presents (weird right?). On Christmas Eve, Caga Tió will get covered with a blanket and kids must sing a song while they bang the log. After the song, kids will find sweets and little toys underneath the blanket.
Pessebre and Caganer
The Pessebre or stable is one of the most popular decorations in Catalan’s homes and it’s usually build together as a family. The stable recreates the nativity scene along with other elements and characters.
The star of the Catalan stable is the Caganer which translates to “the shitter”. Catalans have been carrying the tradition on since the 18th century. The Caganer is a little figure dressed in a white T-shirt, blue trousers and a red hat while he is pooing. Since the Caganer became so popular, there has been many recreations of famous people as the Caganer character. Some examples of it are: the Trump Caganer, the Puigdemont Caganer or the Santa Claus Caganer. You can find these tiny figures in the many Christmas markets around the city during December.
Christmas Eve and Christmas Day
Both Spain and Catalonia celebrate Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with family and friends. However, it’s more common to just have big feasts rather than exchanging presents. Kids might get some presents at Christmas from Caga Tió but they will mostly get them on Kings Day.
Boxing Day and the All Fool’s Day
Sant Esteve is what you might know as Boxing Day. Luckily for us, it’s also a holiday day in Catalonia. Family and friends will probably have more Catalan specialties (check them out on this article). On the 28th of December, it’s the All Fool’s Day so if you end up being in Barcelona, don’t believe much of what you’re told.
New Years Eve
The usual on New Years is to have dinner with family or friends and then, party. The tradition in Spain/Catalonia is to eat one grape for each bell at 12 o’clock and drinking a glass of cava to welcome the New Year.
It’s popular to rent a masia (traditional Catalan farm house) to spend the night over as it might be cheaper than going to a club. I totally recommend it if you’re a big group trying to celebrate New Years in the city!
The Spanish/Catalan tradition on the 6th of January (Kings Day) is basically exchanging presents. Kids will prepare a plate with biscuits and milk for the special guests (Three Kings) on the 5th.
Kings Day is probably the most exciting date for kids during the holidays because the Three Kings Parade takes place in Barcelona. The Parade is quite special as the Three Kings arrive by boat and give all sorts of sweets and chocolates from their massive float to everyone. There’s loads going on like flashing lights, music, performances and many themed outfits! As usual, families will have a big feast together and Catalans will have the typical dessert called Roscó de Reis. Check out the cake here.