Spanish version

Christmas in Madrid

Christmas decorationEvery year Christmas seems to begin a little bit earlier. The shops and malls light up their windows with colourful bulbs and also the streets brighten up with all the Christmas decoration.

One of the typical events during this time is the Christmas market at Plaza Mayor.

There you can buy Christmas trees and ornaments (although it is probably not the best place to do it!). Many stands sell figures for the crib and other items like little houses and trees or moss.

cribUsually people put up not only the crib, but a whole Christmas scene with animals, shepherds and people working. Many of them like to buy new figures every year in order to improve their design.

After Christmas the stands start selling joke items. In Spain, April Fool´s Day is celebrated on December 28th, Innocent´s Day.

Some years ago the newspapers published some funny or eccentric news, which many people even believed. Unfortunately this custom is nowadays almost forgotten and not many people play jokes any more. Maybe this is also due to the new custom of putting on costumes and playing jokes on New Year´s Eve.

The Christmas tree is not something typically Spanish. This custom came to Spain more or less in the 1960, when foreigners started living here. Thetypical Spanish Christmas decoration is the crib andsome very beautiful ones can be seen in different churches during this time.

The Town Hall also puts up one which is admired by many visitors. It has nearly 300 figures and 15 handmade buildings showing the Nativity, a group gathered around a fountain, the town of Bethlehem, Herodes´castle and other important scenes.

On Christmas Eve Spanish people usually have dinner with the family. Afterwards many Christmas marketyoung people go out with their friends to have a drink or dance in a disco. Although many people still like to go to Midnight Mass.

As children start their Christmas holidays about the 20th of December,nowadays many people prefer that Santa Claus brings them their presents on Christmas Eve or on Christmas Day. But many other prefer to maintain the typical custom of the Wise Men bringing the presents on January 6th. The problem is that schools start again on January 8th and the children have less time to enjoy their presents. The last week before January 6th in many places we can find Royal Postmen that collect all the letters children have written to the Wise Men asking for their presents.

On January 5th many Spanish cities organise a procession of the Three Wise Men. One of the biggestones is in Madrid and usually starts in the Retiro Park and ends at Plaza Mayor. But as there are different works going on in the center, this year the procession is going to pass along Castellana, from Nuevos Ministerios to Cibeles.

There are different carriages, full of light, fairy tale characters and, of course, the Three Wise Men. They all throw thousands of candies to the people that have been waiting for them for hours.
On New Year´s Eve usually people have dinner at home and at twelve o´clock eat twelve grapes. To read more about this custom see Puerta del Sol.

@Copyright 2008, 2009 Mª Dolores Diehl Busch. All rights reserved.
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