It might be a little late for a holiday entry over there, but here, the festivities just ended last week. Plus I have to fill you guys in on what has been keeping me so busy!
So first we have Christmas, and Christmas time in the city is incredible. The lights go up at the end of November and they just took them down. When I tell you there are a lot…. I mean A LOT. Every street is lit up and the center of the city is full of giant Christmas trees of all colors. However, we left the city and spent Christmas in their village (the one I referred to as the “town of dwarves” before). I’d be lying if I said being away from your family during Christmas isn’t rough, but having my whole extended host family cramped into a tiny house made me feel at home. Between the strange (impossible) card games, the cooking, and the EATING I barely had time to think about what I was missing back home. And get this: I even made them gingerbread cookies! It took a while to find the molasses but they were worth it!
I was introduced to some new Spanish traditions on New Year’s. We ended going to my “uncle’s” house for the big New Year’s feast. The company was great and the food even better, but what really surprised me was the midnight tradition. Not only do they have the champagne, but 12 grapes for you to eat at the 12 strokes of midnight. It doesn’t sound too hard, but it takes real talent not choke on them as you cram them into your mouth. After dinner, the tradition is that you go out with your friends. I was a little surprised that I was supposed to be leaving the house at 1 a.m. but hey, its Spain.
The third and final holiday they celebrate in Spain is on the 6th of January to honor the Reyes Magos. It’s a celebration of the arrival of the Three Kings to Bethlehem and the gifts they brought for the birth of Jesus. I spent the holiday with my best friend here and her family. The night before we went to the huge parade that they have running through the main street. There were incredible floats and fireworks after. The next day, her whole family came over for yet another feast (I say feast, because well let’s face it there’s enough food to feed a small country).
It was really interesting to get to experience another country’s holidays and learn about century old culture. Who knows, I might even bring some of the traditions back home with me.