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Important National Holidays

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas (Navidad)

 

 

        The traditional Christmas holidays (Las Navidades) begin on December 22nd with the lottery and ends on January 6th with El Día de los Reyes (Epiphany). On Christmas Eve, people sit around el belén(a model of Jesus Christ’s birth) in their home to celebrate. Many Catholics join the midnight mass (la misa del Gallo) at 12 o’clock. On Christmas Day, families gather together and enjoy Christmas dinner. Although Christmas tree and Santa Claus are common in Christmas season, they are not commonly seen in Spain.

 

 

 

 

 

Día de los Inocentes (April’s Fool)

 

 

        December 28th is April’s Fool Day in Spain. On this day, friends play jokes on each other; sometimes, media would also fool the public.

 

 

 

 

 

Nochevieja (New Year’s Eve)

 

 

        On December 31st , families sit in front of TV or in restaurants to celebrate the end of a year. At La Puerta del Sol in Madrid, thousands gather around to welcome New Year. By midnight, they eat 12 grapes along the 12 bell rings. It is believed that this brings good luck for the year to come.  

 

 

 

 

 

El día de Año Nuevo (New Year)

 

 

        The 1st of January is a day to rest after the holidays.

 

 

 

 

 

El Día de los Reyes

 

 

        Children in Spain all look forward to El Día de los Reyes. At the night of January 5th children receive gifts from “los Reyes”(the Kings). Los Reyes ride on camels coming from the east and put gifts in children’s shoes left on the balcony.
There is a parade of los Reyes in the evening on January 5th . The parade go along the streets in the city. When children watch the parade, they would easily think of los Reyes riding on the carriage filled with toys, not riding on camels.

 

 

 

 

 

Samana Santa

 

 

The basic element of Semana Santa is the parades. Cofrades (members from the same religion) wear special clothing and carry the religious statues of Passion of the Christ or his life story in the parade. In some cities, the statues are sculpted by famous sculptors.

 

 

Andalucía is famous for Semana Santa. Besides the parade, they also sing “saetas” (a flamenco music) in the parade. They usually sing for the Holy Mother or Jesus Christ. In some places in Aragón, the parade consists of drum bans with hundreds of drums.

 

 

        Semana Santa is a national festival, but no other places can beat Sevilla in this.

 

 

It is said that once in the Semana Santa parade in Sevilla, a teardrop fell from the statue of the Holy Mother’s face. Someone in the crowd saw it and shouted, “¡Olé las mujeres bonitas!”(Hurray! Beautiful women!). The statue looked up and smiled. The parade of the statue of Macarena gained its fame nationwide ever since. Other than that, the parade of the statue of La Virgen de la Esperanza is also well-known.

 

 

        During Semana Santa, the most important activity is the parade of the statue of Macarena on Saint Thursday (Jueves Santo). At midnight, as the parade starts, the crowd gets excited. People go crazy. They scream, shout, cry, laugh or praise. This moment is called "Madrugá". Everyone stays awake that night and attends the parade.

 

 

The parade consists of 60 groups, formed by churches around Sevilla and cofradía (a religious group), or the public. Each group is led by the Cruz de Guía (cross) and is followed by believers wearing gowns of different colors and long, sharp hats. Each color of gowns has its meaning: black symbolizes death; purple symbolizes repentance; red for blood; green for hope. These people are called “nazarenos”. Each group holds two statues: Jesus Christ and the Holy Mother. The first statue represents the Passion of Christ (la Pasión), and the second portrays the Holy Mother welcoming Jesus Christ. In every place the parade passes, a well-talented singer sings “saeta”, praising Jesus and Santa Maria:
"Te damos todos los votos,

 

 

 Estrella de noche y día,

 

 

y sin ninguna abstención

 

 

te llevas el corazón
de tu tierra, Andalucía.
"
 

 

 

“We give you all of our wishes,
Stars in the night and in the day,
and without any abstention
take away the heart
of your land, Andalucía” 

 

 

 

Numerous strong men hide under the statues to carry them (each statue weights more than 100kg). They are called "costaleros".They swing to the rhythm of saeta. It is said that one year, Manuel Torre (a famous singer of flemanco) sang the saeta. His voice was so beautiful that the costaleros couldn’t help but followed the rhythm, and it became a tradition ever since.