'Tis the season to be jolly, and we couldn't be more excited that the Christmas holidays are just around the corner. As we tie up all the loose ends of the year and begin winding down for a festive few days of food, fun and good old family time we wanted to share a few reasons why Barcelona is a truly unique Christmas destination.
If you think Barcelona is gorgeous in the summer just you wait till you see it in all its twinkling winter glory. The Christmas lights adorning the city centre are just spectacular. Not a tacky snowman in sight, these lights are opulent and sophisticated and show the city in all its splendor. The main square, Plaza de Catalunya and its surrounding streets are the best place to head to, but the lights also stretch further afield up into most areas of the city, leaving almost no district untouched by the glitzy decorations.Traditions
What also makes Barcelona a unique Christmas destination are some of the unusual Catalan festive traditions that you will notice sprinkled around the cities shops, markets and window displays. Two of the most interesting are 'Caga Tio' and 'Caganer'. Caga Tio is a wooden log with a smiley face painted on one end. The aim of the game is that the children hit the log with a stick until…. wait for it…. you will never guess….. until it 'poos' out the presents.
The second, the 'Caganer', is a little nativity figure who is squatting and, well, 'relieving himself'. Yes, undeniably there is a bit of a running theme and apparent fascination from the Catalans with defecation and whilst some people find the inclusion of the Caganer in nativity scenes offensive the Catalans view it with endearment and positivity. They view the defecating figure as a symbol of fertilization and good harvest for the year ahead. Whatever your perspective these historic traditions are unavoidable in the city and are usually taken a little tongue in cheek as they are intended.
What you also can't fail to notice in Barcelona over the Christmas season is the traditional Catalan Christmas flower, the 'Poinsettia'. The beautiful flower can be found everywhere, covering the city with vibrant splashes of red. These plants are full of festive charm and are also long lasting so can be enjoyed well into the new year.
Another interesting tradition in Barcelona takes place on the 5th January and is called 'El Dia De Los Reyes' which means the 'The 3 Kings day'. This is a really big deal in Catalunya as the city hosts a parade that goes right through the city where the children can come and see The 3 Kings in all their splendor riding through the city on their flamboyant parade floats.New Years Eve
If you're lucky enough to be celebrating New Years Eve in Barcelona this year then make sure you're prepared for another unusual tradition. At midnight when the clock sounds 12 times, you must eat one grape for each chime of the bell. This actually sounds easier than it is, as with just 12 seconds, the main objective is to make sure the last grape is in your mouth as the clock strike twelve. If you're up for the challenge, a little word of advice; make sure the grapes are seedless!
We hope to see you in Barcelona this festive season taking in all the fantastic traditions and festive activities. But wherever you are this Christmas we wish you all a wonderful Christmas and a happy new year!