The Festive Season in Spain

To complement the mini-series on my podcast: An International Festive Season: Spain episode no. 39

The Festive Season mini-series on my podcast (respecting Diversity In The Class) was fun, insightful and unified a group of ladies from 6 different countries. We gathered at my home one morning for a coffee talk to share the festive holiday celebrations from our respective counties.

When we got to our guest from Spain, we heard some very unexpected and unique traditions from her country! You must hear the episode so you don’t’ miss all the details!

Here are 6 traditions from Spain that are most surprising and a lot of fun! My two boys have adopted one of the traditions for our own household! Read on and you’ll see why the ‘boys’ had to be a part of this! The Caganer from Catalonia

The Caganer from Catalonia

The Present that my friend from Catalonia gave me! A Caganer. My son is obsessed with him!

As a symbol of good luck for good harvest and hiding out in the Nativity scene during the Christmas season, I do believe this pooping figure is about the most interesting tradition I ever heard of!

The Tió de Nadal from Catalonia

Caga Tio is a typical Christmas character of Catalonia, Spain

The Tió de Nadal (or Caga Tió, ‘poop log’), is a decorated log with a smiley face and little stick legs. These logs can be found at Christmas markets and even supermarkets throughout the regions. Catalans keep him in the house during the Christmas season for the children to look after by keeping him warm under a blanket and leaving him food and water every night.

On Christmas Day the children sing songs and take turns to whack it with sticks. Then, the log is ready to poop out its goodies which can be found by lifting his blanket.

A video that shows how it all works!

Olentzero from the Basque country

The Olentzero with his charcoal bag and presents

The Santa of the Basque country is quite different! He is called Olentzero and most of the legends describe him as a very generous and hardworking man. As there are a variety of legends that tell us where he came from, there are also a variety of traditions celebrated today. One is that the children put their shoes out before going to bed and when they wake the Olentzero has left presents. Another is that Olentzero comes running through the village sharing gifts out of his charcoal bag.

Dia de los santos inocentes

December 28, a few days after Christmas, is known as the Dia de los Santos Inocentes and is the Spanish version of April Fool’s Day. This is the day for playing pranks with friends and family. 

The New Year’s Eve Grapes

Spanish tradition for the new year.

In Spain, when the clock strikes midnight at the turn of the New Year, the town bells will chime 12 times.  At each chime, you must eat one grape totaling a consumption of 12 grapes for good luck in the next year! 

Roscón de Reyes on Kings Day

Like many other cultures, Spain also celebrates Kings day on January 6th. Following the tradition of receiving gifts from the kings, they also have a very special cake on this day of Epiphany. The cake is called Roscón de Reyes. The sweet bread is in the shape of a ring and topped with almonds and fruits and stuffed with Whipped cream. Two surprises can be found inside your piece a cake. One is a small figurine and the person who finds it has the honor of wearing the paper crown. The other is a dried bean. If you get the dried bean then you get to pay for the next Roscón de Reyes.

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