Christmas is celebrated in unique ways across countries and different cultures. However, many Christmas traditions are kept alive through years and generations. These traditions have different applications in different regions and are created at different times and for various reasons. The Camino de Santiago is a location in Spain that is famous for its Christmas time traditions. Each of the traditions marks a specific ritual and holiday in the area. The holiday season is best explained when it is split into separate days in which the festivities occur.
22nd December – The Christmas Lottery
El Gordo or otherwise known as the Christmas lottery is a tradition that is upheld every year during Christmas. Not only does this day mark the start of the Christmas lottery, but it is also the official launch of Christmas in Spain. Although many consider this tradition to be gambling, it is just another reason to play the lottery. For those who win the lottery, their Christmas is a beautiful end to the old year, and to celebrate the birth of Christ. However, for the losers, their money is lost, and they get to wait until next year. This tradition is so ancient that it has been taking place for 250 years making it certainly one of the oldest traditions in Spain.
24th December – Good Night – Christmas Eve
When it comes to celebrating Christmas and traditions, nothing is a more important date than Christmas eve; and for those who live in certain parts of Spain, it is the best time. The 24th is a night that is dedicated to reunions with family and friendly dinners. In Spanish, it is called Noche Buena, which means ‘Good Night.’ The night usually consists of large amounts of food and singing with the family before the celebrations begin for Christmas day.
25th December – Gifts from Who?
Christmas day in Spain is one of the happiest days in a year. This is due to the presents that the children receive once they wake up bright and early in the morning. This is especially true in certain parts of Spain, where certain traditions are linked to the gift sharing spectacle. Before Santa arrived in Spain, there were other methods of distributing presents to the children of the town. Some of these traditions included the Tió de Nadal’, in Catalonia. The tradition consisted of hitting the Tió de Nadal’, which was a poping gift log. The children would beat the log with a stick to get their presents. Much like a pinata.
28th December – Santos Inocentes
This day is considered to be an April fools day for Spain. Meaning that everyone is allowed to play pranks on each other, so it is entirely reasonable to see someone with an odd haircut, due to a joke gone wrong or a post-it note on their back. However, the history of this day is anything but cheerful and happy. Before the tradition was created, the 28 of December was a day where parents mourned for their lost children. This day honors the children who lost their lives when King Herod was in search of the baby Jesus and killed all the male babies during the time.