These magical days in December are marked by Santa’s sleigh, presents under the tree, and lots of eggnog. However, Christmas season in Spain is celebrated in a very different way!


5 Unique Ways Spain Celebrates Christmas

Here in America, we know that holiday season is in full swing the minute our bodies have digested the Thanksgiving turkey and Black Friday ads take over the TV. These magical days in December are marked by Santa’s sleigh, presents under the tree, and lots of eggnog. However, Christmas season in Spain is celebrated in a very different way! Imagine this: a stomach full of caramelized almond nougat candy, plazas full of nativity scenes…and red underwear? Yes! It’s true. Here’s 5 unique traditions that make Christmas in Spain different from the rest of the world: 1)    Participate in the Christmas Lottery: Since 1812, the start of the Christmas season has been marked by the Christmas lottery, or as the Spanish call it, “El Gordo de Navidad” (which literally means “the fat of Christmas”). What makes the “Sorteo de Navidad” so special, is the symbolism and emotion behind it. It all starts with the first Christmas ad; Spaniards eagerly await the first Christmas lottery ad to run on the TV. Why? Because many believe it marks the official start of the holiday season! Following the lottery kickoff, nearly the entire country participates and purchases a ticket, with bright hopes that they will be one of the winners. The lottery is traditionally announced the morning of December 22nd, by a pair of uniformed middle school children, who sing the lucky numbers on national TV. Spaniards hang on to every note as the kids are singing, eager to hear their numbers. And when the lucky winners are publicized, excitement and emotion fill the air throughout the entire country; a symbol of hope and unity throughout Spain! 2)    Deck the halls with bells of…Nativity? Replace scenes of jolly Santa and his trusty reindeers, with scenes of the birth of baby Jesus, and you’ve got yourself a traditional Spanish Christmas set up! Almost every village, town and city of Spain decorates its main plaza with elaborate nativity scenes. The most special part of this tradition? Each doll in these biblical scenes is traditionally made by hand, making every figure unique. 3)    Eat Turrón and Marzipan: Our mouths are watering just thinking about it! Nothing tastes like Christmas more than a crunchy caramelized almond nugget, aka a turrón. Everyone has their favorite flavor, from the classic honey, to variations of chocolate and rum raisin. Or, stuff yourself with soft, moist marzipan almond cakes. Or…do what we do, and eat BOTH! 4)    Wear red underwear: Don’t even think about putting on your favorite blue underwear on nochevieja, or Spanish New Year's Eve. Unless, of course, you want a year of bad luck and no love! Spaniards wear red underwear on New Year’s Eve, as a superstition for good luck and lots of love. Of course, it’s only valid if you also… 5)    Eat 12 grapes for a sweet New Year! One sweet, white grape for every month of the New Year. As the clock strikes 12 on the Spanish New Year, the loud sound of the bell chimes throughout the country. With each chime, another grape is eaten. TIP! Don’t buy big grapes, or else you might not be able to finish all 12 in time! So, who’s ready to pack their suitcase full of presents and stockings and head to Spain? If you are, make sure to leave some extra room. You’re going to want to bring back some turróns. ;) And “Felices” Holidays to all!   Written by Casie Tennin December 23, 2015   And now, the big announcement YOU have all been waiting for: The winners of the “Christmas in Spain” trivia quiz! The Tourism Office of Spain in the US organized this trivia quiz to share with you all the wonderful traditions of Christmas in Spain! The contest was online from November 30th to December 12th, 2015. And now, drum roll please… Below are the three lucky winners :)   Winner 1 - Roxana Urrutia Winner 2 - Susana & Joseph LeTexier Winner 3 - Lisa Ambro   Thank you all for participating, and to the winners: que aproveche!!!

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