One of the great things about the holiday season in Spain is that it goes on forever. And it’s all about family (and food).
It starts off with Christmas eve with a big family dinner and get-together. That’s followed by Christmas day when Santa leaves his presents (or Christmas eve in the case of my family). The kids then have almost a week to play with toys before the next holiday – New Years.
New Years Eve is a family tradition with a large meal and the traditional “campanadas”, the countdown at midnight which involves a countdown with a bell ringing pretty quickly 12 times while you choke back 12 grapes (or try) with each ding. In the US, New Years Eve is all about going out with friends and finding a party where you’ll be guaranteed a midnight kiss. In Spain it’s all about family (and then partying afterwards). Back before kids I remember going out until the early morning to celebrate New Years eve, leaving the house around 1am.
And last but not least we have King’s Day. This is on January 6th and is when the Three Wise Men or Kings come overnight with their camels and leave presents for the kids. But it isn’t just this day alone: the night before before most towns have a “cabalgata”, a large parade with floats, camels, ducks, you name it (details and specific parade parts depend upon the city). During the parade the floats throw tons of candy out to the kids who anxiously wait on the sidewalks.
So basically you have a sugar high followed by brand new toys the following morning. It’s kind of like Halloween + US xmas.
Not a bad deal for kids, if you ask me! And not a bad deal for me here in Spain to have such a long holiday season and over two weeks off from school. I’m already looking forward to the next holiday (Easter break) – just three months to go…