It’s getting to the end of my first semester in Sevilla and the city is ready for Christmas so I thought I’d dedicate a blog post to la Navidad. I’m flying back to Edinburgh to spend the holidays with my family so I’m missing a few of the Spanish festivities, but I have still managed to celebrate Christmas here.
Las celebraciones de Navidad empiezan el 24 de diciembre y duran hasta el 6 de enero. Christmas Eve in Spain is called Nochebuena and is celebrated just the same as in Scotland. El día de 25 de diciembre es el día de Navidad. It hasn’t always been typical that Papá Noel visits children on this day but it is becoming more and more common. As well as Santa coming on Christmas Day, children receive gifts from Los Reyes Magos (three wise men) on the 6th of January- El Día de Reyes/la Epifanía. The day before this, Los Reyes Magos parade through the town on massive floats throwing sweets. It is clear that the celebrations are taken very seriously in Spain!
My favourite Spanish tradition happens on el Día de Reyes and it involves the Roscón de Reyes: a Spanish Cake. The cake itself is pretty basic, just a plain sponge in a ring shape, but inside is what is important. There are two things hidden inside the cake; una haba (a bean) y un rey (a king). The person who bites into el rey gets to be the King for the day, whereas the person who gets la haba has to buy the cake for the following year. I remember learning about this tradition when I was in school, so it was fun to see the cakes being sold in shops now I actually live in Spain.
Another interesting tradition that grabbed my attention when I moved to Sevilla is la lotería de Navidad/la Lotería Nacional (the Christmas lottery). On el 22 de diciembre the very famous lottery (also known as el gordo) is drawn in Spain. However, people buy their tickets long before this date. I moved out here in September and there was already advertisements for tickets. There are lottery shops on almost every street and there are always big queues outside. The one on my street is called el gato negro and the locals rub their tickets on the picture of the black cat for good luck.
Sevilla is decorated perfectly for Christmas; there are lights on every tree and building, there are markets in every plaza and there’s even two ice rinks in the city despite it still being 20°C every day. The markets sell all sorts of things: belenes, dulces, joyería y adornos navideños. Also by the river there is Sevilla’s equivalent of winter wonderland which has more markets, another ice rink and lots of rides.
Although Spain celebrates Christmas very well, I am excited to be back in Scotland for a few weeks to celebrate at home. ¡Espero que tengáis una feliz navidad! 🎄