Winter is coming, we all know that, didn’t you notice the cold? But so it’s Christmas! These days that we spend with our family and friends. The ones who have behaved good will receive many presents, and those who haven’t… too! Christmas is the time when people show all of their kindness and you can notice these feelings in almost everyone. For those who are living in Spain, and especially in Sevilla, there are some facts you should know that we have not in common with you. For example, to begin with, I think you all know who this famous person is:
Yeah! It’s Santa Claus. He is supposed to live in Finland during the year, close to Rovaniemi. Here, though, we call him Papá Noel. It would be like “father Noel”, and he is supposed to come every Christmas Eve, after dinner, to our houses, knock our door and leave a few presents. You may be wondering why did I say a few, and that’s because we don’t get our presents on Christmas day! We wait until almost the end of our holiday period, January 6th, the morning when we all wake up and find many presents mainly in the living room. And who has left all these presents? We believe it’s the Three Wise Men (or in Spanish, Los Reyes Magos).
Their names are Melchor, Gaspar and Baltasar. The last one is supposed to be a person of colour. Most children here go nuts about their arrival during the night of the 5th of January to the 6th. They leave sweets, three glasses of wine, and even water bowls for the thirsty camels! I have been doing it myself for many years…
Besides, the Three Wise Men appear in the Nativity scene. In Spain this is an important thing, and you will see that, apart from the Christmas tree, many families put a nativity scene in their houses (mainly in the hall or the living room). These nativity scenes can be tiny ones (with Mary, Joseph and little Jesus) or incredibly big. You’ll see many fans of this tradition, some people even install fountains or an electricity system for all of the houses of the town of Bethlehem, where baby Jesus was born.
Another fact you should know is that we don’t have Christmas trees farms. And it’s a pity. Most of us have plastic trees (some of them full of dust because they turn old). But, remember, we have cool nativity scenes!
On Christmas holidays, students don’t have classes from around December 20th until January 8th. We celebrate Nochebuena (Christmas Eve) which takes place on December 24th evening, la comida del día de Navidad (big meal at Christmas day), Nochevieja (New Year's Eve) and la Cabalgata de Reyes, that is, a big parade on the evening of January 5th. The Three Wise Men are there (normally they are famous local people in the city, such as the Mayor of the city, dressed up like them) and they toss away many sweets and even give away jamones!
I hope you all enjoy these days our traditions - you’ll see fantastic Christmas decoration and many Christmas markets in the city center. Maybe you’ll want to buy the first figures of the nativity scene to start your own in the US!