Christmas is quite different in Spain to what it is in the UK. Being a catholic country, most people respect the religious meaning of this time of year and every town has a nativity scene. They incorporate a little village into the model, complete with washing on the line and animals as well as people going about their business in a rural community.
Christmas Eve is the important day and in the evening. Christmas Eve is called “Nochebuena” in Spanish (Goodnight). Families will gather in their homes for a big meal that takes all evening. Fish is one of the treats, especially prawns, and desserts are not Christmas puddings but creamy gateaux. Small gifts are given and children have new pajamas and hats and scarves etc. Then after the meal off to Midnight mass (Misa del gallo). Most bars and restaurants close in the evening. (Their main toy gifts are brought by the Three kings on the night of January 5th. On this night there is a fancy dress parade and the three kings take part).
We were surprised to find so many people out and about on Christmas day. They meet up with friends and visit the cafes and restaurants and even go to Mc Donald’s! Some years it is warm enough to spend some time on the beach and we have seen Dutch people in particular, cracking open a bottle of bubbly while dressed in Santa hats and bikinis!
Boxing day is unknown of course in Spain. It originated in the United Kingdom, and is only celebrated in a number of countries that previously formed part of the British Empire.
This is replaced by a day of fun on December 28th.This is the day of “Santos Inocentes” (Holy Innocents) and is the same as the British April Fools’ Day, when people play practical jokes on one another.
You may be a bit confused with the two ways the Spanish say “Happy Christmas”.
This because of the two main languages spoken here on the Northern Costa Blanca.
True Spanish (Castilian) & Valenciano (Native to the valencia region)
Therefore we end up with “Feliz Navidad” for Spanish & “Bon Nadal” for Valenciano.
Christmas Gallery 2018
Where to find the Chrismas Fair in Benidorm with ice rink & Santa’s Grotto
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