Last Christmas in England

Bristol, 19th of December

Christmas TreeIt doesn't feel as strange as I thought it would preparing for our last Christmas as UK residents. We always spend Christmas with my mum and her husband in Nottingham and we think we will probably still go home for the festive season after we have moved to Spain so things won't be so different in future. Nevertheless it felt quite sad buying our last Christmas tree for this house. To honour the occasion we chose a big tree which Fred covered with as many decorations as it would hold!

Christmas in Spain - La Navidad

On Tuesday I went to my last Spanish class of the year and our teacher told us all about how Christmas and New Year are celebrated in Spain.Christmas Eve is celebrated with a big family meal, la cena de Nochebuena which usually consists of fish. The Spanish don't have Christmas cake, pudding or mince pies but do have a range of delicious almond based sweets such as el turrón which is Arabic in origin. After dinner many people go to midnight mass, also known as la Misa de Gallo or the mass of the cockerel because it used to go on for hours until dawn!Christmas Day is a family affair too with dinner in many areas consisting of roast turkey and even the dreaded brussel sprouts, colecitas de bruselas. December 28th is el Día de los Inocentes, the day of the innocents - the Spanish equivalent of our April Fool's Day right in the middle of the festive season!

three kingsNew Year sounds like a great celebration with some interesting rituals. You are supposed to wear red underwear (men and women!) and at midnight eat twelve grapes, one with each chime of the bells, with a glass of cava to bring good luck in each of the coming twelve months. On January 6th is the day of the kings celebrated, el Día de los Reyes Magos and is the day when children get their presents. The day before there are parades known as cabalgata de los Reyes Magos, sometimes including the three kings on real camels!

No regrets ... well hardly

It sounds so good that we might have to stay in Spain next Christmas! Having new customs to look forward to experiencing makes leaving less painful than it might otherwise have been. For now, Feliz Navidad y un Prospero Año Nuevo to everyone.

Sent by: Sue

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