Christmas celebrations in Spain

¡Feliz Navidad y próspero año nuevo!

(Merry Christmas and Happy New Year)

Today I would like to introduce some of the most typical Spanish traditions and make you hungry by talking about the local festive galletas (biscuits)!

Las tradiciones navideñas

The christmas traditions

El gordo

During the month of December I noticed that in front of every shop of the of Spanish national lottery there were long queues of people. The reason? El Gordo de Navidad!

El gordo (the fat one) is a Spanish lottery that takes place during the Christmas time. Its name comes from the large jackpot that is offered that this year amounted to 4.000.000 euros.

One particular aspect of this raffle is that the prizes are sung by children in a very distinguished way.

Video of this year’s lotería (raffle) in which you can see how the Spanish children announce the winning numbers and the prices.

El día de los Reyes Magos

Another pecularity regarding the Christmas celebrations is that in Spain the 6th of January is a major holiday. It corresponds to el día de los Reyes Magos (the day of the three wise men). According to traditions, Spaniards on the night of the 5th of January leave pairs of shoes under the Christmas tree to indicate to the Three Wise Men that there are children in the household and on the 6th they receive their Christmas presents. For this, it is very common in Spain to unwrap gifts in January rather than in December.

But beware! Presents are not always guaranteed! Children who do not behave well only get coal!

Galletas tradicionales de Navidad

The traditional Christmas biscuits

One of the most traditional biscuits eaten during the Christmas period are los polvorones and los mantecados.

El polvorón is a delicious combination of almonds, butter, sugar and cinnamon. Thank to the abundance of butter, they crumble as you eat them just like dust, characteristic that gives the name to this cookie! (Polvo means dust in Spanish)

Los mantecados are biscuits very similar to el polvorón in terms of texture because of the presence of pork lard. Once again, their name derives from the main ingredient which is el mantecado, pork lard in English.

While staying here, I took the chance to taste them and they are delicious! The texture is very peculiar because it feels like dust but the flavour that each of these biscuits as is nothing I have tasted before! For each of these two types of cookies there are difference variants, I personally enjoyed el mantecado de estepa de coco (coconut mantecado)!

How do you celebrate Christmas at home? What are the most typical dishes? Let me know in the comment section! 🙂

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