El Navidad By: Kayla Michaels, Harrison Roy, and Kevin Picher
Spanish Christmas celebrations are a lot like the traditions of other catholic countries. Although there are not many customs unique to El Navidad there are some festivities that make up this holiday season.
El Navidad traditions begin on the 8th of December, with the public holiday of Immaculada, the feast of the Immaculate Conception. The Virgin Mary plays an important part in the Spanish Festive customs, as this day celebrates her and starts the beginning of religious traditions.
Christmas Trees and nativity scenes called Belénes are common in households. The elaborate nativity scenes that are made are one of the most integral parts of the Spanish Christmas traditions and always include Baby Jesus, Mary, Joseph and The Three Wise Men.
Evergreens decorate the churches and outdoor markets throughout the Christmas season. Tambourines, gourd rattles, castanets, and miniature guitars are offered for sale to create more singing and dancing in the streets. Children go from house to house reciting verses or singing carols for sweets, toys, or small instruments.
In Spain the 21st and 22nd of December are days that are unique to El Navidad, they are not celebrated in other catholic countries. The 21st also the winter solstice is the celebration of Hogueras. On this holiday people jump through bonfires as a symbol of protection from illness.
The following day called El Gordo (The Fat One) is the Christmas lottery and the start of students’ holiday when prizes are won all over Spain.
December 24th or Nochebuena is one of the most important day of El Navidad. The Christmas Eve national speech is broadcasted every year by King Juan Carlos I.
When the first star shines in the evening sky, people light bonfires, called luminarias, in public squares and outside church walls. At home, each family places a burning candle above the door and lights candles around the nativity scene. People fast all day and at midnight, the church bells call families to “La Misa Del Gallo” (The Mass of the Rooster). Then they return home to enjoy a feast of almond soup, roasted meat, baked red cabbage, and sweet potato or pumpkin.
Children will wake up on the morning of El Navidad with a small gift from Santa. This will not be their main presents of the season though for the three wise men will deliver them gifts soon. December 25th,El Navidad, is spent at church and with family, for more celebration and feasts.
Children believe that both Santa and The Three Wiseman deliver gifts.
Traditional Christmas food largely depends on the region, but Christmas turkey with truffles is a typical main course, followed by deserts of a sweet almond nougat, crumbly cinnamon cakes, almond cookies, or marzipan figures. These sweets are an essential Spanish Christmas tradition.
During El Navidad children sing and dance around the nativity scene. Family members exchange gifts, and friends and neighbors exchange holiday sweets. Some families add to the fun with the traditional Urn of Fate. Names are written on cards and placed in a bowl. Then two names are drawn at a time. Those two people will be friendly to each other throughout the coming year.
December 28th is the feast of the Holy Innocents. New Year’s Eve in Spain is known as “AñosNuevos”, and carries traditions of its own.
The Feast of the Epiphany, on January 6th brings the end of El Navidad , and is celebrated as the day when the Three Kings arrived in Bethlehem. While Santa may leave a small something for children on the 25th, Los Reyes Magos traditionally bring gifts in Spain.
Spanish Words and Holidays to Remember • El Navidad- Christmas • Immaculada- the Feast of the Immaculate Conception • Belenes- Nativity Scenes • Hogureas- holiday where people jump through fires to prevent illness for the year ahead. • El Gordo- The Fat One ( Christmas lottery) • Nochebuena- Christmas Eve • luminarias- Christmas bonfires • La Misa Del Gallo- The Mass of the Rooster • AñosNuevos- New Years Eve • Los Reyes Magos- The Three Wisemen
Credits • Kayla Michaels: Power Point Presentation • Harrison Roy: • Kevin Picher: