The end of the year is always a very special moment, since it is Christmas time. In Spain and in France, there are some similar Christmas traditions that cause a different atmosphere in streets and at home, and they become even more crowded and animated during these days. We invite you to a unique experience discovering some of the Spanish Christmas traditions. If you wish to visit the “country of the sun” during December, book a ticket now and travel with our Renfe-SNCF in Cooperation trains.
Decorated tables for Christmas Eve
Every year at Christmas, several cities of Spain are decorated with the most beautiful decorations. Places, monuments, avenues and small streets are illuminated. They officially announce the winter and also Christmas time. People admire the decorations in the windows of the shops, shopping centres and boutiques. The most typical decorations are the nativity scenes, Christmas trees and Christmas flowers (the poinsettia or Christmas star).
Christmas and New Year gifts
In many villages children go from house to house and sing Christmas songs, accompanied by tambourines, and receive in exchange gifts, sweets and also some coins.
The Christmas Lottery
Since 1812, the Christmas lottery has become an important tradition in Spain. It takes place every December 22, starting at 19.15. It marks the beginning of the festivities and takes place in Madrid but it is broadcasted on television in the whole country. Almost everyone in Spain buys tickets for this famous lottery. The lottery tickets can be purchased almost anywhere and it is very common that people buy the “tenths” of the lottery together with their families, friends or colleagues.
Christmas Eve and Christmas Day
The Christmas Eve takes place in the evening of December 24 and is usually celebrated with the whole family. The typical dishes vary depending on the different regions of Spain: seafood, turkey, pork... but one thing is clear, there is always plenty of food. Among the best-known desserts you can find the turrón and the marzipan. This evening, the King of Spain gives a speech, which is broadcasted on television and followed by most of the people. Children receive at midnight or in the next morning, gifts and presents, which were delivered by Papá Noel (the Spanish version of Santa Claus). On the 25th, another feast takes place, normally with the family.
New Year's Eve and the New Year
The New Year’s Eve is celebrated with the family or friends, but one tradition continues from generation to generation since 1909: the tradition of the twelve grapes of luck. The tradition consists of eating 12 grapes (1 for each month) with each bell strike at midnight and making a wish. This ritual brings good luck for the next year. After eating the grapes, people wish a good new year to their friends and then they have fun during the whole night. Sometimes, the first day of the year is celebrated with a meal with family and friends.
On January 6, is the Three Kings Day and is the most expected moment for the Spanish children. The children wait for the Three Kings, which will bring them their long awaited gifts, for which they have been waiting during the entire Christmas time.
The crown of kings
On January 5, they go to the Three Kings parade to give them a letter with a present list. Before going to sleep, they leave on the window or on the doorstep some vegetables, glasses of water or milk for Melchior, Gaspard, Balthazar and their camels... who will deliver some presents during the night.
The next day, after they have opened the presents, a meal gathers the whole family. The typical dessert is the crown of kings, a cake in the shape of a crown, which is decorated with dried fruits and that represent the jewellery of the king’s crown.
One thing is sure, this period is magic for children, and in order to continue this good time until arriving at home, there is nothing better than to sit in a comfortable train of Renfe-SNCF in Cooperation and to admire the winter landscapes through the window.