Christmas in Tenerife? We would like to give some info about Christmas time in Spain!
The Christmas holiday season in Spain is a truly magical affair. Although it doesn’t get going until seemingly the last minute, the Spanish throw themselves whole heartedly into the spirit of things and the festivities finally culminate on the 6th January.
The true mark of the beginning of Christmas in Spain is the Spanish national lottery draw held on December 22nd. ‘El Gordo’ or the fat one, is so called because it is the largest national lottery in the world with the total prize fund running into billions and it also has the best odds of winning.
The meal on the eve of the 24th is the most important meal in the Spanish calendar and is always held in the evening, many people won’t even start until after midnight as the old saying goes, ” Esta noche es Noche Buena, y no es de dormir” this night is the Good Night, and is not meant for sleeping”. Generally, the celebrations usually begin early evening when friends and family meet in bars for a drink before returning home for the main event. Like most Christmas meals, the Spanish one involves a lot of preparation, many courses, lots to drink and lasts all night.
New Year’s Eve is called ‘Nochevieja’ or ‘The Old Night’ in Spain and one special tradition is that you eat 12 grapes with the 12 strokes of the clock at Midnight! Each grape represents a month of the coming year, so if you eat the twelve grapes, you are said to be lucky in the new year
For Spanish children, the best days of the festive season have to be the 5th and 6th of January. While the rest of us are packing away the trees and tired decorations, Spanish children everywhere are preparing for the arrival of the Three Kings. In Spain it is not Santa who brings the children their presents, but the Three Kings or ‘Los Reyes Magos’. On the 5th January, the eve of Epiphany children go to local parades which herald the arrival of the Three Kings.
Each village parade consists of decorative floats with a variety of themes and sweets and streamers being thrown into the crowds. At the end of the parade, children get the opportunity to ask the Three Kings for their chosen gift and then leave their shoes out overnight in which their gift will be placed. In many villages though, the parade of the Three Kings culminates in a gathering at the local church or school hall where each child’s name is called out and they receive a small gift. The day of the 6th January is a national holiday, much like Christmas Day, when children wake up to presents left by the Three Kings.