Spanish Christmas Traditions

With the festive season drawing close, many Spanish speaking countries are preparing for their various celebrations. Today we’d like to share with you how Spanish speakers celebrate these festivities.

Christmas Eve (Nochebuena):

This is one of the most important gatherings of the year. Family members come together to partake of a dinner and later to attend midnight mass and Christmas carols. On a typical Spanish table you will see: Pork, chicken, turkey, mutton, lamb, prawn, seafood… all the typical dishes. Sweet things are abundant on this night: turrón (a type of nougat), marzipan, dates among many other sweet things.

Christmas Day (Día de Navidad):

Christmas day is celebrated by giving a small gift to each other in the morning and a traditional Christmas meal in the afternoon. Not many presents are given on Christmas day because El Día de Reyes (6 January) was traditionally the present giving day. However, nowadays more Spanish speaking countries are following the traditional western tradition of opening presents on Christmas day as well as on el día de Reyes.

New Year’s Eve and New Year’s day (Nochevieja y Año Nuevo):

In Spain, Chile, Venezuela, Peru, Mexico, among others, it’s traditional to eat 12 grapes (las doce uvas de la suerte) at each stroke of midnight. For each stroke you should eat one grape. If you manage to consume all the grapes within the period of the strikes, it means good luck in the new year. The origin of this custom came from an excess of grapes.

At dawn or on the morning of the first churros con chocolate are usually eaten with friends and family.

Día de Reyes (6 January)

El Día de Reyes is a Christian tradition from when the three kings brought three gifts to the baby Jesus. On the night before el Día de Reyes children polish and leave their shoes outside their doors. If the children have been good, they receive presents; if not, a lump of coal -carbon- (a hard candy dyed black) is left inside the shoes. Sweet wine, nibbles, sweets, fruit and milk are left out. The traditional Roscón de Reyes is eaten as well. Children used to receive gifts on this day only, although lately Santa Claus (Papá Noel) is coming to visit them on 25th.

Throughout this festive season there are many celebratory parades as well where you can see colors galore.

The Relatives Pronouns In Spanish

The Relatives are pronouns used to link two ideas. Here we have a list of them:
QUE: It is usually used with a preposition; in that case, we need to add an article between the Relative and the preposition. These articles agree in number and gender with the subject.

La casa con jardín en la que crecí estaba al lado de un río. (The house with a garden where I grew up was next to a river.)

Los amigos de la escuela, con los que salí ayer, siempre han sido muy buenos amigos. (The friends from school, with whom I went out yesterday, have always been very good friends.)

Pay attention to the above sentences.

The sentences where I can find two different ideas are called “Especificativas”, like the first one, and when the relative is used to introduce some information that is not important, the phrase with relative goes between parenthesis, and these sentences are called “Explicativas”.

EL CUAL/LA CUAL/LOS CUALES/LAS CUALES: In a formal situation, it is frequent to use these relatives to replace QUE.

For example: Los amigos de la escuela, con los cuales salí ayer, siempre han sido muy buenos amigos. (The school friends, with whom I went out yesterday, have always been very good friends.)

Voy a usar para la fiesta un vestido rojo, el cual voy a llevarlo con zapatos negros. (I am going to use to go to the party in a red dress, which I will take it with black shoes.)
QUIEN/QUIENES: It only has a human antecedent. And when the phrase needs a preposition we use it without an article.

El chico con quien salí ayer, es el primo de Victoria. (The guy with whom I went out with yesterday, is the cousin of Victoria.)

La camarera, quien tiene muy lindos ojos, trabaja aquí hace mucho tiempo. (The waitress, who has very pretty eyes, has worked here for a while.)

When Quien or Quienes is the subject in the sentence, it goes without preposition.
Quienes quieran ir a la playa, que se pongan bronceador. (Those who want to go to the beach should put on sunscreen.)

DONDE: We use it to speak about localization.

El pueblo donde nací se llama Baradero. (The town where I was born is called Baradero).

It is possible to use it with prepositions.

La zona hacia donde vamos es un poco peligrosa. (The zone toward where we are going is a little dangerous.)

CUYO/A/OS/AS: It has a possessive value. It agrees with gender and number with the substantive that follows.

Let´s pay attention to the next two phrases:

El hombre de aquella mesa es muy extraño. Los zapatos de ese hombre son amarillos. (The man at that table is very weird. That man’s shoes are yellow.)

El hombre de aquella mesa, cuyos zapatos son amarillos, es muy extraño. (The man at that table, whose shoes are yellow, is very strange.)

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