Spending time in a city involves knowing its customs, traditions and the most emblematic elements of its culture and language. If your stay in Barcelona coincides with the Christmas season you will surely be interested in knowing what the locals do and eat at this time of year. ShBarcelona, other than offer the best rental apartments in Barcelona, gives you the chance to learn a little more about these practices and feel even more integrated into the Catalan culture.
Of all the holiday traditions at Christmas the gastronomic ones are the most important. From the night of December the 24th, known as “Nochebuena” (Christmas Eve), families gather around the table to eat and share the typical Christmas dishes for almost two weeks. The result is a huge indigestion but … is always nice to be next to your folks! Each family has its own traditions but is common to eat “escudella i carn d’olla” (galets soup with meat inside it) on the 25th, or “día de navidad” (Christmas Day), and canelones on the 26th, or San Esteban day, for which takes advantage of the meat cooked the day before. Apart from these two dishes, of course people also eat
Apart from these two dishes, of course people also eat turrones, polvorones, marzipan or neules as a dessert and nuts or other caloric winter products. On the night of January the 5th, prior to the arrival of the Reyes Magos with their gifts to all Spanish children homes people usually eat the roscón de reyes, which hides a dry bean (if you find it you will have to pay the roscón) and a figurine of a Rey Mago (the lucky one who finds it is crowned with a cardboard crown).
Besides eating, during Christmas Catalan people also have other outstanding traditions that set them apart from the rest of Spain. One of them is “cagar el Tió” the night of December the 24th. Children enjoy hitting this trunk that wears a Catalan barretina and that is smoking a pipe until it “defecates” lots of gifts. And scatological traditions don’t end here … It is also very typical the “caganer” figurine in all Catalan cribs, which hides in the moss
to preserve its “privacy”. The Reyes Magos are, apart from the Tió, the most awaited by the children as they come from the East riding their camels carrying a lot of gifts for all of them. On the morning of January the 6th all catalan children wake up very excited to unwrap the anticipated presents. The night before those Reyes Magos, called Melchor, Gaspar and Baltasar have walked around every city to be seen and advertise their “arrival”.
There are other Christmas-related events in Catalonia that are also important and representative as representing Els Pastorets, a play about the first Christmas through dialogues between shepherds and other stories. It is also common to play trick on people el día de los inocentes on December the 28th.
We encourage you to do a further research on your own and discover and experience a magical Christmas while you’re living in Barcelona!