Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas in Spain

Source:  Deck the holidays
Christmas is a deeply religious holiday in Spain. The country's patron saint is the Virgin Mary and the Christmas season officially begins December 8, the feast of the Immaculate Conception. It is celebrated each year in front of the great Gothic cathedral in Seville with a ceremony called los Seises or the "dance of six." Oddly, the elaborate ritual dance is now performed by not six but ten elaborately costumed boys. It is a series of precise movements and gestures and is said to be quite moving and beautiful.

Typical X'mas delicacies
Christmas Eve is known as Nochebuena or "the Good Night." It is a time for family members to gather together to rejoice and feast around the Nativity scenes that are present in nearly every home. A traditional Christmas treat is turron, a kind of almond candy.

December 28 is the feast of the Holy Innocents. Young boys of a town or village light bonfires and one of them acts as the mayor who orders townspeople to perform civic chores such as sweeping the streets. Refusal to comply results in fines which are used to pay for the celebration.

As in many European countries, the children of Spain receive gifts on the feast of the Epiphany. The Magi are particularly revered in Spain. It is believed that they travel through the countryside reenacting their journey to Bethlehem every year at this time. Children leave their shoes on the windowsills and fill them with straw, carrots, and barley or the horses of the Wise Men. Their favorite is Balthazar who rides a donkey and is the one believed to leave the gifts.

Source:  Christmas Around the World

Celebrating Christmas is a joyful event and it is filled with a lot of food preparation and gathering with family and friends.  For those of us who have emigrated to a different country to raise our own family, we tend to adapt our traditions to those observed where  we have  settled in.  But no matter where we are, the feeling of joy is still the same, for it is the  festive event of the birth of our Saviour that kindles the special gladness that comes only once a year specially on Christmas day.  Peace and joy to men.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent summary, how is Xmas celebrated in the Philippines