5 Christmas traditions in Catalonia

In our second post about Christmas, we want to show you the best-known Catalan traditions. If you travel to Barcelona these days, you will be interested in how Christmas is celebrated here, what is usual to do in New Year’s Eve or which Christmas traditions you will find.

Children absolutely love this millenary tradition. It is maybe one of the most surprising traditions. In early December people take home a tree log and they covered it with a blanket to avoid cold. The Tió is fed daily with all kinds of food. On Christmas Eve children beat him with sticks while singing a popular song. At the end of singing and hitting the Tió, they take away the blanket to find all the presents that the Tió has shat. Traditionally It shits candies, chocolates or small toys.

Over the years the Tió has been decorated and currently you can find it with legs, a face drawn, clothes, and there are even small versions of the Tió to use as ornamentation. In Santa Llúcia Fair, in Barcelona, you will find the Tió you like the most.

Continuing with the same topic in Catalonia is very traditional to put a Caganer in the Nativity Scene. It is a sheepherder who is placed in a hidden corner of the manger, and he is relieving himself.  The Caganer became popular in Catalan nativity scenes in the XIX Century, but its origins date back to the Baroque.
Aforetime the Caganer was dressed with sash and barretina, the typical Catalan clothing. But as well as all traditions, the Caganer has been adapted and nowadays we can find all kind of versions: football players, politicians, actors, and so more. Caganer is really popular and it has its own shop on Santa Llúcia Fair. Let’s visit it!

Sant Esteve
In Catalonia and some other parts of Spain, the 26th December is holiday. On this day is traditional to join the family again and eat cannelloni all together.
But why do you think that the 26th December is holiday? Several sources show that the 26th December dates back to centuries ago, when Christmas used to be celebrated in the family home and then, guests needed a full day to go back home on foot. Over time, this day became holiday and today it is one day more to see the family and stay all together.

Els Pastorets
Els Pastorets is a really traditional play and there are lots of versions of it. It is the most typical play of these days. It is staged the Birth of Christ, the fight between angels and demons and the adventures of the sheepherders.
The origin of this Catholic representation dates back to medieval age. Nowadays the play is represented in many villages and cities of Catalonia a few days before Christmas. Some examples of the best known versions are: Els Pastorets of l’Ametlla de Merola, Valls or Molins de Rei.

La Passió d’Esparreguera
Esparreguera is a half hour driving from Barcelona. The show there is one of the most emblematic of Catalan Christmas. It is a highly complex representation, with more than 100 characters, splendid scenic changes and live music. The Catholic story of Christ’s life and death is set out in a unique and spectacular way.
La Passió d’Esparreguera is the most represented theatrical story in Catalonia. Every year, the play is seen by over 15.000 people.

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