Are you spending Christmas in Barcelona? Barcelona offers much more Christmas activities that you’d imagine, from weird Catalan traditions like the Caga tio to traditional Christmas markets and decorations worth seeing at least once in your life!
Don’t miss on getting into the christmas mood, and come enjoy Barcelona in ways you wouldn’t imagine! These are just a few if the typical traditions you and your family will enjoy if you are visiting the city this December!
Barcelona During Christmas Time
The most important Christmas market is the Fira de Santa Lucía, opposite Barcelona Cathedral, in the Gothic district. The square in front of La Sagrada Familia also fills with festive stalls offering traditional Christmas figurines, nativity scenes, and artisans gifts.
This Christmas log is a smiling hollowed out piece of wood with a red barretina hat. Children “feed” him every day from the 8th of December and keep him warm with a blanket. On Christmas Eve the children beat him with a stick, singing songs that demand he poops presents…and candy, nuts, and figs come pouring out!
A key character in the Catalan nativity scene is the caganer, a small figure defecating discretely behind the crib of baby Jesus. These statues symbolize fertilization and renewal. Children love finding the caganer in the larger nativity scenes that have dozens of characters, from shepherds and kings to villagers and angels.
Barcelona Beautiful Streetlights
Once Barcelona’s street decorations are switched on at the end of November there’s no denying that Christmas is just around the corner. Look out for the pretty lights in small streets if the Gothic and Born districts, and the large wall of electrified colour along Gran Via.
Festive window displays beckon shoppers into their colourful decorated consumer wonderlands. Shops are normally closed on Sundays and public holidays in Catalonia, but during the month of December, many will open on the 6th, 8th, 17th, and 24th.
This traditional Christmas sweet is made with honey, sugar, egg whites and almonds or other nuts. Turrón de Jijona is a soft blend with ground almonds and oil, which makes it more sticky. Turrón de Alicante is a hard block made with whole almonds. There are many other modern variations with additional ingredients such as chocolate, puffed rice, and candied fruits.
Christmas Day and Saint Stephen’s Day
On 25th and 26th December, we gather around the table to celebrate Christmas. Tradition dictates that on Christmas Day we eat a special broth known as escudella. It contains giant pasta shells filled with carn d’olla, the meat cooked in the broth. On 26th December, Saint Stephen’s Day, we eat cannelloni made from the carn d’olla leftovers. The dish consists of pasta stuffed with the meat in a béchamel sauce topped with cheese and browned under the grill. It’s rounded off with cava and sweet nougats, or torrons. Perfect to celebrate the magic of Christmas around the table.
The Three Kings
The Three Kings arrive on 5th January. Before they begin delivering their presents, you’ll be able to welcome them and see their spectacular procession. The Cavalcada dels Reis, through the streets of Barcelona. Children have to go to bed early to give the Kings time to deliver the eagerly awaited gifts. The children who haven’t been good during the year receive dreaded pieces of coal but in sweet form. And don’t forget to leave out some food and drink for the Kings and their camels. They’ve got at a long night’s work ahead of them!