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Posts Tagged ‘december’

spanish people love to celebrate and christmas is no exception in that regard! the festive period that proceeds christmas covers a large part of the december month and is build up by many national bank holidays. if you come to barcelona during the month of december, you should definitely have the following special dates in mind in order to fully experience the catalonian christmas vibe:

• 6 December – constitution day (bank holiday)
• 8 December – day of the immaculate conception (bank holiday)
• 25 December – christmas day (bank holiday)
• 26 December – boxing day (bank holiday in catalonia)
• 1 January – new year’s day (bank holiday)
• 5 January – parade of the three kings
• 6 January – three wise kings’ day (bank holiday)

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christmas lights in barcelona

christmas celebrations in spain basically implies many colourful christmas lights spread out over the city´s main streets and boulevards, extensively decorated nativity scenes and many food stalls selling sweet almonds or roasted chestnuts. all of this creates a lovely festive atmosphere that forms a warm welcome for all the tourists visiting spain at this time. for spanish people this time is characterized by many family gatherings and local customs as spain is a country with comprehensive cultural roots. below we will discuss the some of the most important events, main traditions and must-see sights in barcelona.

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hotel majestic 5* fully decorated for christmas

the real christmas holiday season in spain kicks off on december 8th with dia de la inmaculada concepcion (day of the immaculate cnception). this is a religious celebration and catholics around the country rejoice the magical “conception” of virgin mary in the local churches, but it’s also the time when the proper christmas preparations can start and all the stores in barcelona come to life with all kind of perky holiday decorations and music to cheer up the shoppers.

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el corte ingles, all lit up for christmas

to continue on the shopping note, christmas markets are probably the most common feature that pops to mind when talking about the christmas time for many people. barcelona is a city that upholds a strong christmas market tradition and every year both inhabitants and tourists can enjoy the beauty of the lit up stalls and the many special decorations and attributes that can be found there. the two most famous markets are the fira de santa llúcia christmas market and the fira de nadal at the sagrada familia.

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fira de santa llúcia

the fira de santa llúcia was first set up in 1786 and has since been one of the most important christmas fairs in town. its location, in front of the cathedral, and the fact is it is one of the oldest fairs in town contribute its importance as well. as is deeply rooted into the catalan christmas traditions, the market brings many stall that sell candles, scarves, sweets and of course nativity scenes, do not expect mulled wine here but enjoy over 270 stalls and live music instead. a very popular and traditional figure is “el caganer” (the pooper), to be found hidden in catalan nativity scenes and to be bought at all christmas markets. another special creature is the christmas “caga tio” (a smiley face log) from which the children receive their presents.

the market is open every day from the 28th of november till the 23rd of december from 10h30 until 20h30.

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many “caga tio” atributes are sold at the christmas markets in barcelona

the christmas market fira de nadal which is takes place in front of the sagrada familia every year and even tough it is much smaller than the fira de santa llucia yet very impressive due to its magical setting. It also focusses more on attributes that can be used to create a nice nativity scene. among others, one can find a wide selection of honey, sweets and candles.

this market is open every day from the 29th of november till the 23rd of december from 10h00 until 22h00.

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torre agbar during the month of december

when talking about christmas, the real city decorations can of course not be overlooked! here in barcelona the emblematic christmas lights were switched on by the mayor of barcelona, last friday and can be enjoyed in more than 300 locations and streets of the city. in catalan they are called “els llums de nadal”. the famous magic fountain of montjuic is part of the christmas lights as well and a special christmas water and music show can be enjoyed here in the december month. this show is always free and can be watched on fridays and saturdays in december and on 25th december and 1st january between 19:00 to 21:00. please keep in mind to dress warmly! another part of barcelona’s christmas lights is the torre agbar tower in the sant marti district, which lights up and shows a special christmas lights show displaying animated designs including christmas tree decorations.

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the montjuic fountain christmas-style

the three wise men parade on the 5th january is called the night of the three kings and marks more or less the end of the holiday season. here in spain, the christmas tradition is that the three kings bring the presents for the children instead of santa claus like in many other countries around the world. this night there is a big parade celebrating that the three kings have arrived and then, the day after the parade, on the 6th january, the children get their presents.

enjoy the most wonderful time of the year in barcelona!

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nowhere else are food fights as loved as they are in spain!

 

surely the most famous one, the mother of food fight festivals, is la tomatina in buñol, valencia. but leave it to the spaniards to find fighting potential in many other foods, and even drinks (from wine in haro, la rioja, to grapes in pobla del dec, valencia, to meringues and candies in vilanova i la geltrú, catalonia).

one less known spanish food fight festival, but at least equally ´dirty´ and fun, is els enfarinats, the flour fight in ibi, near alicante. it takes place on the 28th of december, which is perhaps the reason why there isn´t so big of a tourist crowd as for the summer festivals la tomatina or the haro wine fight.

the enfarinats is a game, a charade, a ludic battle between two opposing teams in a reenactment of the political situation of the region. one team, the enfarinats, acts as the government, while the other represents the opposition, and they fight for the control of the town. of course it is all playful fun, as the weapons used are merely flour and eggs, and the occasional firecracker.

enfarinats from 20minutos

 

the flour war starts between the two gangs, but spectators get quickly involved too. they are required to obey all the silly rules imposed by the ´government´, otherwise they will receive a floury punishment. no wonder nobody cares too much about obeying any rules, since everyone is there for some good laughs and fun!

enfarinats from socialphy

 

showing that some traditions cannot and should not change, the group of enfarinats is always made up of married men (absolutely necessary that they are married), usually 14, men that are friends in the ´real life,´ which means that it is not easy for an outsider to become an enfarinat. led by the pretense town mayor, the group collects ´taxes´ from all shops, trades and banks as a charity for the elders care home, which gives the whole day a meaningful scope in its playfulness. during all of this tax collection the epic street battles between the two groups don´t stop, which means that by the end, everybody is left looking the same, powdery white.

enfarinats from oppiminen

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perhaps unlike the tomatina, the flour food fight is more organized, it follows a plot, and participants play a certain role in the storytelling. it is thus a different type of fun: while the end result is the same (food covered faces and a distinguishable smell on the streets), els enfarinats is more about following, or even breaking, certain rules, rather than just getting the others and oneself buried under a mountain of flour (or tomatoes).

so if you find yourself on the eastern coast of spain during the winter holidays, stop in ibi on the 28th of december and admire these fighters carrying on some old traditions, or dare to participate and throw a fistful of flour in the face of the authorities!

 

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