Christmas is a very important time of year in most calendars and that does not change for Barcelona.
Here, there are many parts of tradition, both new and old, for people to enjoy. Whether it be food, stalls, religious or not, there is plenty to learn about.
Here are some of the most traditional aspects of Christmas time in Barcelona.
Firas: Christmas markets in Barcelona
The “Firas” are one of the main things to be a part of in terms of traditions around Christmas in Barcelona.
These Christmas markets are found throughout the city. The main two being the Fira de Sant Llúcia and Fira de Sagrada Familia. With the Santa Llúcia market being located in front of the beautiful Barcelona Cathedral, dating back to 1786, making it the oldest Christmas market in the summer. The Fira for the Sagrada Familia dates back to the 1960s, making it a newer market but no less entertaining!
Here you will find a range of handmade gifts that any loved one would love to receive. In addition to this, figures that you will not want to miss some traditional Catalonian Christmas. Firstly, with the Caganers, these are miniature figurines that became part of tradition in the 18th century, depicting a follower at the nativity scene. Nowadays you can find Caganers of many famous people, from footballers to politicians!
Secondly, the “Caga Tió de Nadal” is another piece of history associated with the festive period in Barcelona. This is a log with a face on it has legs and, usually, from the 8th December becomes a member of the family. The idea is that kids leave food out for the Christmas log, look after it by wrapping it in a blanket and taking good care of it. If the children do this then they are rewarded with presents on Christmas Day. This Catalan tradition is concluded with the burning of the log after Christmas Eve!
Traditional Christmas Food
“Rostit de Nadal” is the main food eaten for a Christmas meal in Barcelona, it compromises of roasted chicken, that is placed into the oven with other vegetables and spices, usually onions, garlic and, of course, some rum! The dish is slow cooked and is served as a juicy and warm meal that really brings families together at this time of year in Barcelona.
“Escudella i Carn d`Olla” is another dish that forms the catalan Christmas traditional as it is found on the dining table in Barcelona during Christmas. This starts off as a meat broth that contains chicken, pork and botifarra- a Catalan styled sausage. Then, the meat is cooked with meatballs, or pilota, and once it is ready will be drained.
The broth, now separated from the meat is used to cook some long noodles. At Christmas time large noodles are used, called “Galets”, as they look as big as snails! The noodle soup is then served before the meat that is a main dish accompanied by seasonable vegetables.
“Turrón or Torró” is one of the most well known Spanish Christmas foods to find in Barcelona. It is made from honey, sugar, egg white and toasted almonds. Once baked, it is rested into long cubes and enjoyed around the table once being broken. The first time Turrón was first made in Spain dates back to the 16th Century and since then, it has become a traditional Christmas sweet that is enjoyed all over Barcelona.
Barcelona Shopping Night
A new tradition that has become just as popular in Barcelona, is the one night of late-night shopping on Passeig de Gràcia. Here, on 19th December 2019, shops will reopen from 8pm-1am for last minute shopping. This night has music and food on offer, with the street becoming more like a fiesta than a high-street! It is great fun and the ideal way to get those much desired Christmas presents for loved ones.
This is the second longest continually running lottery in the world. Beginning in 1812, The big one, or “El Gordo”, is the maximum prize of the year. It is common to buy friends and family a ticket for this lottery in the hope that they win El Gordo for Christmas.The first prize is €4,000,000. Yet the main aspect of this lottery is the number of prizes you can win, with many winners named each year. It is a large part of Christmas tradition in Barcelona and, as they say, you have to be in it to win it!
Lastly, the Pessebre is a nativity scene that can be seen in Barcelona, and is high on most families´ to-do list as Christmas approaches and it is not getting a Christmas tree… which is becoming more and more popular! Instead, the nativity scene is seen on Plaza Sant Juame and is visited by people in their thousands. Each year, the designer of the scene changes, giving the locals a chance to enjoy a new design every Christmas season.