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Christmas time in Barcelona

During Christmas, which is during the same time as the majority of European cities, Barcelona shows another face, which is totally different from other days of the year. Barcelona is magnificent with impressive streetlights and decorations, with special markets, that bring special feelings of this holiday with more activities for children with a nice Christmas atmosphere.

Of course, Barcelona has a lot to offer at this time of year. Old buildings, narrow streets and cozy atmosphere make Barcelona a great winter destination. All squares of the city are beautifully lit and full of various markets.


Christmas markets bring a special charm to the city of Barcelonaduring these days. The ones that are most important are ‘Fira de Santa Lucia’ which is celebrated in the entrance to the Cathedral in El Gothico, ‘Feria de la Navidad de la Sagrada Familia’ and ‘Fira de Reyes’. Also there are smallerChristmas markets all over the city and in variousCatalan places.

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If you want to have some fun also there is an ice-skating place right in the centre of Barcelona, at Plaza Catalunya, not far from Las Ramblas. Of course every region has their special traditions for big holidays. There are some special Catalan traditions for Christmas.

  1. Nativity scenes which represents Jesus’s birth
  2. Tio Nadal (Nadal means “Christmas” in Catalan, Aragonese, Asturian, Galician and Occitan) is an Aragonese and Catalan mythological character who tells a Christmas tradition in Catalonia and Aragón. It is one of the most important tradition for the children: a log properly covered with a small red blanket for not getting cold and to which food is given every night since 8th of December. At Christmas Eve children sing songs about him and hit him to get sweets.
  3. Papa Noel (Santa Claus) brings gifts to children at Christmas (the night of 24 to 25 December) and is considered as an American tradition, but because of big globalization it exists in Catalunya as well. But still many people prefer to wait for Reyes Magos (Biblical Magi).
  4. Tyical food for this period isles galets, polvorons,turrons for example.

What is Christmas time for Catalunya?

There are some holidays like Nochebuena (24.12), Christmas Day (25.12), Sant Esteve (26.12), The end of the year (31.12), New Year (1.01), Day of Kings (“Dia de Reyes Magos”, 6.01).

  1. Nochebuena (Christmas Eve) usually includes a dinner with family and friends before Christmas Mass in case of catholic-practicants. It is particularly common to start the meal with a seafood dish followed by a bowl of hot homemade soup. It is also common to have desserts such as turrón.
  2. Dia de Navidad (Christmas Day) is a festive day, traditionally families eat together, traditions differ, but always on the table you can find galets de Nadal. In the evening it’s more common to meet with friends and to go to the cinema or to a bar, for example.
  3. Sant Esteve is the day that comes after Christmas, that is, on December 26, the feast of St. Stephen Martyr. In Catalonia, the traditional family gathers to eat the other half had not been the day before. At first they have a traditional meal of cannelloni and stuffed chicken first for example and there’s always dessert like for example wafers and candies. Also there is a widespread tradition that makes the kids in the house have to climb on a chair to put a poem (not verse) aloud for some money prize.
  4. Nochevieja is the last day of the year, 31 of December.Some of the New Year traditions are to make a decision and to eat 12 green grapes by the end of the final bell’s toll, wear red underwear (which is a synonymous with prosperity and luck in love), toast with ring above the glass of champagne (people believe that this will attract money and economic welfare) and they also make a list of wishes and goals for next year.Nobody goes out with their friends until they have seen the New Year with their families. Throughout the country there are street parties and special nights in hotels and clubs. There are more about New Year’s traditions.
  5. Los Reyes Magos (Biblical Magi) is a day when everybody receives presents. But of course, this day is the most popular among children.  Festive day starts in the evening of January 6th when 3 magis come from Orient and children meet them. Then starts ride of Magis through all Barcelona. Truly worth watching!
photo credit: Chris_J 


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Written by: xavi


Hello there! I love to travel, and Barcelona is a great city to live, thats why I decided to write about it and share my experiences!

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