Spanish Christmas Traditions on the Costa del Sol
Are you considering an escape to CLC World’s resorts on the Costa del Sol for Christmas and curious to find out how the Spanish like to celebrate the festive season? There are so many charming Spanish Christmas traditions to enjoy when you visit the Costa del Sol this December and the destination experts at CLC World have selected some of their favourites.
Spanish Christmas Tradition: Midnight Mass
Christmas Eve in Spain tends to be a family affair and is more important than Christmas Day. Traditionally, after a home-cooked meal, a small oil lamp is lit before attending midnight mass. In Spanish, it’s known as ‘La Misa de Gallo’, because it is thought a rooster crowed on the night Jesus was born. During this very important Catholic tradition, communion is taken at midnight or shortly before, to commemorate the birth of Jesus on December 25th.
Epiphany: The Three Kings
Whilst in many parts of the world it’s Santa Claus or Father Christmas who delivers presents to all the (well-behaved!) children, this Spanish Christmas tradition is a little different. Rather than a jolly bearded gentleman with a round tummy, red suit and long white beard, it’s the Three Kings (also known as the Wise Men or Magi) who bring Spanish children their seasonal gifts. The date for delivery is also a little later on the Costa del Sol and actually falls in the New Year on the 6th January!
There are certainly similarities with the Santa tradition though. For instance, the children write letters to the kings to ask for toys and gifts, and on the eve of Epiphany, leave shoes on their windowsills to be filled with presents, much like leaving a stocking to be filled. Gifts are also often left for the kings, such as a glass of wine along with nuts or satsumas. Of course, rather than a reindeer-pulled sleigh, it’s camels who are the mode of transport for the Three Kings, so often children leave them a bucket of water for refreshment!
Street Parades and Nativity Scenes
Christmas tradition in Spain still tends to have a prominent religious element, so it’s common for towns and villages to have very large nativity displays called Beléns, which is also the Spanish name for Bethlehem. These will often be the centre-point for festive gatherings which can include carols, readings, and even enactments of the Christmas story played by members of the community. Street parties and parades also often accompany Epiphany and the welcoming of the Three Kings in the New Year.
Fiesta de Los Reyes
Spanish Christmas traditions are very much tied into the New Year and continue well into January. On the night of the 5th of January, before the children receive their presents, most towns and cities in Spain throw extravagant street parties with music and frivolity where everyone gets involved. This is definitely a celebration which shouldn’t be missed if you’re visiting the Costa del Sol over the Christmas period as the parties are one of the highlights of the year.
Where to stay this Christmas on the Costa del Sol
At CLC World’s Costa del Sol resorts, everything has been planned so that you’ll enjoy all your traditional Christmas favourites while on holiday. The Christmas Day lunch menu brings a taste of home to the Spanish coast and includes classic roast turkey and Christmas pudding. Yet the highlights of the Costa del Sol are never far away and all you need to do is step outside the resort to soak up the fabulous Spanish Christmas traditions for yourself this festive season.