17 Dec What to do on Christmas in Barcelona
Barcelona celebrates Christmas with an endless number of activities that combine tradition, entertainment, fun and festivity. We offer you a guide on what to do at Christmas in Barcelona to make the most of these dates and enjoy them like a local.
Enjoy the Catalan Traditions
The figure of the Caganer is one of the main icons of the Christmas in Catalonia, and it is a must-have in every Catalan manger. It is the figure of a peasant dressed in traditional Catalan clothes, with its pants down and “doing his needs”.
The tradition of the Caganer dates from the 18th century and, far from the eschatological sense that one could presuppose, it was originally a representation of a peasant fertilizing the land to make it fruitful and ensure a good harvest for the following year. Therefore, it was considered a symbol of health, prosperity and Christmas jubilation.
Over time, the Caganer figure has acquired a more humorous tone and, in addition to the traditional peasant, you can find in the Christmas Markets Caganers representing almost any public character you can imagine: sportsmen, politicians, artists, etc. The prediction for this year is that the best seller will be Donald Trump’s …
-Caga Tió o Tió de Nadal:
Did you know that in Catalonia the one who brings the Christmas presents to the children is the caga Tió o Tió de Nadal?
It consists of a wooden trunk supported by two front legs, with a smiley face drawn and dressed in a barretina (typical Catalan hat) and a blanket so that it does not catch cold.
Catalan Tradition has it that from the 8th of December the children must feed it every day with food scraps or fruit peels. The more he eats the more weight he will gain and more gifts will produce for the little ones.
On Christmas Eve, after dinner, the children hit the Caga Tió with a stick while they sing a popular song until the gifts appear.
Originally, the Tió was the trunk that burned in winter in the Catalan homes to provide them with light and heat and which, in addition, symbolically offered them gifts like sweets and treats.
Nougat and Christmas sweets
In Catalonia and the rest of Spain one cannot understand Christmas without the nougat, a typical sweet with Arabian origins that becomes the king in the family celebrations of these dates.
It is a basic sweet dough made of sugar, almonds and honey, and with all the flavors, colors and textures that you can imagine: chocolate (also with almonds or hazelnuts), cream and walnuts, coconut, nougat, hard nougat or almonds… You can’t miss them!
If there is something that adds a special charm to Christmas in Barcelona, these are the Christmas markets. The oldest and most emblematic Christmas market of the city is Santa Llúcia, which is celebrated next to the wonderful Gothic Cathedral and it has almost 300 Christmas stands where you can find from Christmas Trees and plants to zambombas (a kind of rustic drum), handicrafts, Christmas decoration figures and the traditional caganers.
For its part, the Sagrada Familia Christmas Fair has about 100 Christmas stands where you can find the perfect ornaments while you enjoy the facade of the famous temple of Gaudí as a spectacular backdrop.
You can’t miss either the giant manger of Plaça de Sant Jaume, which this year has nine transparent spheres shaped like snowballs whose decoration evokes fragments of the poem ‘Ho sap tothom i és profecia’, in which the Catalan poet refers to different Christmas scenes.
New Year’s Eve Party in Montjuïc
Barcelona will welcome the New Year 2017 with a spectacular pyrotechnic display in the avenue of Maria Cristina, next to the Font Màgica de Montjuïc. The event will begin at 23.30 and includes a musical performance and a show with fire, light, music and wáter.
Also, the tradition consists of eating a grape with each bell strike during the first twelve seconds of the year. Don’t worry, if you stay with us during these dates we will provide you the twelve grapes!
From there you can continue the party in one of the countless nightclubs of the city like Razzmatazz, Apolo, Sidecar, etc.
Festive parade of the three Wise Men
Although Santa Claus is gaining more and more followers, the Catalan children are still looking forward to the arrival of the Three Wise Men from the Orient. As it marks the Christian tradition, on January 5 Melchor, Gaspar and Baltasar will bring gifts to the children who have been kind and well-behaved during the year… Those who haven’t will receive sweet coal as a delicious punishment.
Barcelona celebrates the arrival of Their Majesties with a great parade that runs throughout the city and in which about 1,300 people will participate. The Three Wise Men arrive to Barcelona by boat and begin the parade accompanied by a large group of royal pages, carriages and art companies, dancers and other organizations that want to take part of it.
Ice skating Rink in L’Hospitalet
The Exhibition center of La Farga in l’Hospitalet de Llobregat will become, until next 8 January, a huge Christmas park dedicated to the youngest guests. The star attraction will be an ice rink of 1650 square meters, of which 300 are reserved to the children.
Also, the space will feature a spectacular ice slide of 50 meters long and 20 meters wide, a magic tree that tells stories, karts or an enchanted forest, among other activities.
A place of dream that Santa Claus and the Royal pages won’t miss, and will be there to collect the letters with the wishes of the children.
Festival de la infancia (Children’s Festival)
The Festival de la Infanciaof Barcelona will celebrate its 54th edition becoming a paradise for the little ones. The venue of the Fira de Montjuïc will host from December 27 to January 4 a wide variety of sporting, educational, playful and solidarity activities, including a Peppa Pig show, ice rink, musical performances, Interactive games or an American Circus. 45,000 square meters of pure fun in which children and young people will enjoy activities that promote values such as civility, solidarity, healthy diet or respect for the environment.
In addition to all these activities and events, you can lose yourself in the streets of the center of Barcelona and enjoy the beautiful lighting and the Christmas atmosphere that fills Barcelona with magic and illusion during these dates. If you have any doubt or suggestion, do not hesitate to contact our staff, there is much to see and enjoy!