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Written by christmas   

barcelona_christmas

Barcelona Christmas 2016

Barcelona Christmas. Things to do at Christmas. Barcelona has many things to do at Christmas including Christmas fairs, Christmas markets, concerts, nativitiy scenes and circus and fun-fairs for the children among the many festive things to do for families and children. Barcelona is also a perfect for Christmas shopping.

Read more about Barcelona Christmas events and traditions and you might also be interested in what to wear in December in Barcelona.

In the Catalan language we say "Merry Christmas and Happy New Year" like this: “Bon Nadal i Feliç Any Nou." And in Spanish we say “Feliz Navidad y Próspero Año Nuevo.”
 
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Welcome to our Guide to Barcelona Christmas traditions, Barcelona Christmas markets and New Year traditions and events. The Spanish and Catalan people celebrate Barcelona Christmas with their own special traditions and customs, which end on 6th January, which is Three Kings Day (Epiphany).

In Barcelona and Spain we celebrate Christmas Day on 25th of December (El dia de Nadal / El día de Navidad) with a Christmas lunch, but the biggest Christmas celebrations are on the 5th and 6th of January, when the Three Kings (Tres Reis Mags) arrive loaded with presents for the children.



Guide to Barcelona Christmas traditions. Scroll down page to read about Christmas in Barcelona 

❄  Christmas lights & trees in Barcelona
❄  Christmas weather in Barcelona
❄  Christmas markets in Barcelona
❄  Christmas food & restaurants open at Christmas
❄  La Misa Del Gallo - Midnight Mass
❄  The Reyes Magos Parade Barcelona
❄  El Pessebre / belén - crib nativity scene 
❄  El Caganer - the “Christmas crapper”
❄  Tió de Nadal - The Christmas log
❄  L’Home dels Nassos – The Noses Man
❄  Barcelona New Year traditions
❄  Barcelona Metro timetable Christmas and New Year
❄  Barcelona sports events Christmas
❄  Pictures Barcelona Christmas





barcelona_christmas_illuminations

Christmas concerts and events for families and children

Barcelona's central square Plaça de Catalunya will host a Christmas festival with many family activities and shows to celebrate Christmas and the winter solstice. The Christmas fair on Plaza Catalunya is from 17th December to 4th January 2017 and also features a Responsible Consumption Fair and a big mechanical ballet dancer to annouce activities like the collection of letter collections by the Three Kings and many other acitivities.


Barcelona has many classical, gospel and ballet Christmas concerts in December including wonderful performances of Handel's Messiah at the Basílica de Santa María del Mar. For other Barcelona concerts check out the websites of the concert venues Palau de la Musica and Liceu Opera House


You can participate in midnight mass on Christmas eve at the Santa Maria del Mar church where just before midnight you can hear the 5 minute "El cant de la Sibil·la."

Christmas at Poble Espanyol Spanish village on Montjuic hill near Plaza Espanya.

Poble Espanyol village has a full programme of children's activities including the Catalan Caga Tió tradition (see below) and Christmas carol singing. Poble Espanyol welcomes children to a Christmas market from 8th to11th and 10th to 11th December. During the Christmas holidays from 23rd December 2016 to 5th January 2017 children can visit the Magical World of the Three Wise Men and participate in activities and leave their letters to the Three Kings on the Wish Tree.

Children in Barcelona at Christmas can enjoy the annual Festival de la Infància at the Fira Montjuïc exhibition area on Plaza Espanya. The Festival de la Infància is an indoor annual festival and exhibition for families and children during the Christmas season featuring games, sports, an ice rink, karaoke, workshops, concerts for children and families. Over 100 companies and 200,000 visitors usually participate.

Circ Raluy Barcelona. The Circ Raluy is a festive Barcelona Christmas tradition at the Port Vell marina in Barcelona. This iconic circus brings a new show to town every year in December. Circ Raluy is both a historic travelling circus and travelling museum of old circus caravans and a circus hotel! Circ Raluy even has a circus hotel where guests can stay in traditional circus carriages converted into guest rooms. If you are in Barcelona for Christmas then don't miss this traditional and wonderful experience. Circ Raluy is in the usual place at the north end of Moll de la Fusta  (wood wharf) at the Barcelona harbour Port Vell. Visit the Circ Raluy website to read about the history of this charming circus and book tickets online. 

Christmas at Port Aventura theme park. Portaventura is a very big theme park located 1 hour south of Barcelona.  Port Aventura becomes a Christmas wonderland from 19th November to 8th January and can be a festive experience for children during a Christmas visit to Barcelona. Port Aventura has resorts hotels and a full programme of Christmas packages, activities and shows including an ice show, Christmas festival and Christmas Parade and more.

Visit the Barcelona events calendar to find our concert picks for top Christmas concerts and events. There are many activities in Barcelona for children in the days between Christmas and New Year.


Barcelona Christmas lights and trees

The Barcelona Christmas lights are called "Els llums de Nadal." Christmas starts in Barcelona when the Christmas lights are turned on every year. The beautiful Barcelona's Christmas lights are switched on at the end of November (24th November in 2016) and stay on until 6th January. There are Christmas lights at almost 400 locations and Barcelona streets and the Christmas street illuminations cover a total distance of 100km.

The fabulous Montjuic Magic Fountain is also part of the Barcelona Christmas lights with a special free Christmas water and music show in December between 19:00 and 21:00 on Fridays and Saturdays in December and early January. Remember to dress warmly! Barcelona's Christmas lights usually also include the tower Torre Agbar in the Sant Marti district, which has a special Christmas light display.

There is a big Christmas tree in Barcelona on Portal del Ángel near Plaça Catalunya and a big tree on Plaça de Sant Jaume in the gothic area, where you can also find the Barcelona's official Christmas nativity scene which is called a "pessebre" in the Catalan language and "belén" in Castilian language.





Christmas weather Barcelona

What's the weather like at Christmas in Barcelona? What should you wear in Barcelona in December? Check out our guide to what to wear in December in Barcelona.  It's usually chilly in the evening but can be warm and pleasant during the day. Generally the mid-day temperatures in December are around 13 to 16 degrees Celsius and drop to between 5 and 10 degrees Celcius in the evening. Weather forecast Barcelona. So pack a sweater, scarf and winter jacket for the evenings. Generally we would describe the Barcelona December weather as chilly, crisp and clear and perfect for Christmas shopping. Does it ever snow in Barcelona? Extremely seldom. Barcelona does get a sprinkling of snow once or twice in the winter, as you can see on these photos of Barcelona snow but it definately does not happen very often, so your chances of snow or a White Christmas in Barcelona at Christmas are very slim. If you want to see snow book a tour to the Pyrenees mountains and Andorra - or go skiing near Barcelona. There are many ski resorts near Barcelona which usually open in late November or early December. 




Christmas shopping Barcelona

Barcelona is one of the top European cities for shopping in general and Barcelona's Christmas shopping kicks off with Black Friday on Friday 27th November and a Christmas shopping event on one of Barcelona's most fashionable shopping street Passeig de Gracia which organises the annual Barcelona Shopping Night with shopping activities and opening times until midnight.

The 2016 Barcelona Shopping Night is on Thursday 1st December 2016. Barcelona has extra Christmas Sunday shopping days in December and other public holiday. Shops can choose themselves if they want to be open on public holidays and Sundays in December. Many Barcelona city center shops and shopping malls in Barcelona will be open on the public holidays of 6th December and 8th December and many big stores will be open on all Sundays in December as part of the Barcelona Christmas shopping season.

Shopping on 24th, 25th and 26th December

Some shops will be open all day on 24th December and some only half of the day on 24th December. Barcelona shops are generally all closed on public holidays however which means shops are closed in Barcelona on Christmas Day 25th December and Boxing day 26th December. There are 2 Barcelona outlet shopping centers outside the city which are both open during Christmas on public holiday. See our Guide to Barcelona shopping areas and streets



Barcelona Christmas markets


barcelona_christmas_market

Barcelona's old city has many craft fairs during December and of course many Christmas markets. The oldest, biggest and most traditional of the Barcelona Christmas markets is “La Fira de Santa Llúcia” (in Spanish “Feria de Santa Lucia.") This wonderful Christmas market is on the Avenida de la Catedral in front of Barcelona Cathedral in the gothic area of Barcelona. The earliest recorded Christmas market by the cathedral in Barcelona took place in 1786, so in 2016 it will be the 230th edition of Barcelona's favourite Christmas market. The Avenida de la Catedral and small streets by the cathedral have almost 300 market stalls selling Christmas decorations and gifts.

Most of the Santa Lucia Christmas market stalls sell “figuritas de Belén”, which are the little figures that you can buy to make your own crib scenes called "Pessebres". The “figuritas de Belén” are not cheap and if you want the full set with the Holy Family, shepherds, huts and sheep and maybe a stream, wooden bridges, palm trees, a few camels and three wise men and of course the cheeky Catalan caganer figure, then you should probably buy a Spanish lottery ticket for the Spanish Christmas lottery El Gordo, the world's biggest lottery, 
 

Snow Day Tour to Andorra from Barcelona









christmas_market_barcelona_fira_santa_llucia


Fira de Santa Llúcia Christmas market

Saint Lucia Christmas market
Dates : Friday 25th November to Friday 23rd December 2016
Opening times: open daily from 10.30 to 22.30.
Place: at Barcelona cathedral on Avenida de la Catedral

The Fira de Santa Llúcia is the biggest Christmas market in Barcelona on "Avenida de la Catedral" in front of Barcelona's cathedral in the Gothic quarter. Special days include Saturday 17/12 one day festival "Diada de les tradicions nadalencs" which has extra Christmas activities for children including the "Barcelona Christmas Face" called "Carassa de Nadal de Barcelona" and a special Christmas concert. From 28th November there are special "Tió gegant" activities for the children. Sunday 11th December in Advent is "Dia de Santa Llúcia - Saint Lucy. 




Fira de Nadal a la Sagrada Família
Sagrada Familia Christmas market

Event date: Tuesday 29th November to Friday 23rd December 2016 
Event times. daily from 10.00 to 22.00
Event location: Sagrada Familia church in Eixample area of Barcelona

Fira de Nadal a la Sagrada Família. Christmas market at Sagrada Familia church. Traditional Christmas market with around 120 stalls at La Sagrada Familia church in Eixample area of Barcelona. On two Saturdays from 18 to 20.00 Santa Claus pays a visit to collect letters from the children and hand out balloons and cookies.





Three Kings Fair
Fira de Reis a la Gran Via 
Christmas market on Gran Via street Barcelona
Event date: Wed 21st December to Fri 6th January 2017
Event times: from 11.00 to 22.00
Event location: On Gran Via street from streets Muntaner to Calabria

La feria de Reyes de la Gran Via, also called "Sant Tomàs i Reis" (St Thomas and Kings) and also sometimes called the Twelfth Night Fair, is one of Barcelona´s biggest Christmas and New Year markets for gifts and toys. The Fira de Reis a la Gran Via Christmas Market has around 300 markets stalls mostly with toys and other traditional "Reyes" gifts like "carbon de azucar" (candy coal).




barcelona_christmas_dancer

Plaça de Catalunya Christmas fair

Place: Plaza Catalunya
Dates: 17th December 2016 to 4th January 2017
Times: 10:00 to 21:00


Plaça de Catalunya Christmas fair. Christmas fair on central Plaça de Catalunya with many activities for families and children. Also include the Responsible Consumption Fair which is a sustainable and fair trade Christmas festival promoted and organised by the Barcelona city council. What a wonderful idea although the name could be a little more catchy! The "Fira de Consum Responsable" offers sustainable and handmade gifts, services and activities by companies and entities to promote responsible consumption and local products.




Fira de Nadal de Sants
Fira d'artesania a la plaça de Sants - Sants Christmas market

Place: Carrer Joan Güell - Plaça de Sants Map link
Dates: Usually end November to 23rd December 





Festival de la Infància
Barcelona Children's Festival Festival de la Infancia
Place: Fira Montjuic exhibition centre - Halls 1, 2 and 3 
Dates: Tuesday 27th December 2016 to Wed 4th January 2017





Mercat de Nadal de Pedralbes
Place: Plaça Monestir de Pedralbes, Pedralbes area of Barcelona
Dates: Sunday 27th November 2016
Times: 10:00 to 18:00

Lovely 1 day Christmas market at Pedralbes monastery where you can also enjoy guided visits of the monastery and enjoy Christmas carol singing.


There are also lovely Christmas markets and fairs in towns and village near Barcelona. We can recommend the Fira de Nadal Caldes de Montbui on 3rd and 4th December 2016.



Christmas food traditions Barcelona


What do they eat at Christmas in Barcelona Spain? A typical Christmas dish is “Escudella i carn d'olla” This is a tasty bowl (escudella means bowl) of pasta shells "galets" in a meat and vegetable stew or soup. Another typical Catalan Christmas dish is the delicious "carn d'olla"  which is a meat dish of stuffed capon or turkey. 


A typical Christmas dessert in Spain and Barceona is “turrón,” which is on sale at Christmas markets and supermarkets everywhere in Barcelona. Traditional turrón is nougat made with almonds, hazelnuts and honey. Turrón now comes is many delicious varieties. 

Christmas bread in Catalonia is called “El Pa de Nadal” and is sold all over Barcelona at bakeries and supermarkets. 

Restaurants. Not all Barcelona restaurants stay open at Christmas. Generally the bigger chains of restaurants and hotel restaurants will stay open for Christmas, but to avoid disapointment we recommend contacting restaurants to check their Christmas opening times and to make a reservation. 

About Escudella
Recipe for escudella i carn d'olla 
Catalan restaurants in Barcelona
Things to do Barcelona Christmas

Most shops are closed both on both 25th and 26th December in Barcelona.  For grocery shopping the "OpenCor" convenience stores have a selection of basic food items and are open on 26th December. Many small local convenience shops are open too.
OpenCor shops Barcelona






“La Misa Del Gallo” Midnight Mass - Christmas Eve 


Midnight Mass is celebrated on Christmas Eve in Barcelona. The chiming of church bells summons families to the mass which is called "La Misa Del Gallo" - The Rooster Mass. This names derives from the belief that only time that a rooster crowed at midnight was on Christmas Eve when Jesus was born. The Midnight Mass is a charming service. You can attend midnight mass on Christmas eve at many churches in Barcelona. One of the nicest basilicas is the gothic Santa Maria del Mar church where you can hear the 5 minute "El cant de la Sibil·la" just before midnight. Another lovely Christmas Eve mass is 40 km northwest of Barcelona on Montserrat mountain at the Basílica de Montserrat at the Benedictine monastery perched on the steep cliffs of the Montserrat mountain range. At the Montserrat Christmas midnight mass you can hear the angelic voices of Europe's oldest boys' choir called L’Escolania de Montserrat.





Three Kings Parade Barcelona 5th January 

Three Kings procession Barcelona


The most important Christmas days in Spain are the 5th and 6th January. The 6th January is the day when the Three Kings of the Orient - "Els Tres Reis Mags d'Orient" namely Melchor, Gaspar y Baltasar ( In Spanish called Los Reyes Magos Balthasar, Caspar and Melchior) arrive at the crib of the baby Jesus bearing gifts.


The 6th January is the day in Spain when children get Christmas presents. You do see Santa Claus in Barcelona shopping malls and on Spanish TV stations, but the Three Kings of the Orient are the main characters in Spanish Christmas celebrations in Barcelona and Spain and Spanish and Catalan children send letters to the Three Kings, not to Father Christmas or Santa Claus.


The 5th January is called the Night of the Three Kings, the "Cavalcada de Reis" in Catalan or “Cabalgata los Reyes Magos,” in Spanish. It`s also called The Three Kings’ Parade or the “Twelfth Night procession.” The Christmas tradition in Spain is that the Three Kings of the Orient bring presents for the children on 6th January, not Santa Claus on Christmas Day. So the Reyes Magos parade in Spain and Barcelona is on 5th January every year on the evening before Twelfth Night Epiphany on 6th January.

During the Kings parades children deliver their Christmas letters to the Three Kings of the Orient to the royal pages Estel and Gregori or to the postmen in the parade. In Barcelona children can also deliver their Christmas letter personally at the City Hall on Placa Jaume or at the Santa Eulàlia schooner moored at the Moll de la Fusta wharf in the Port Vell marina from 2nd to 4th January. 

On the night of 5th January Spanish and Catalan children put out their shoes for the Three Kings to fill. For the camels they leave hay and water.  On the morning of the 6th January the hay and water should be gone and the shoes should be full of presents!

The Three Kings parade on 5th January 2017 is a procession of impressively decorated “carrozas” (parade floats). The Barcelona Kings parade 2017 starts at 16:30. The most important floats are the three floats carrying the Three Kings. Each carroza is manned by costumed adults and chldren tossing 2.5 tons of candy to the jubilant throngs of families and children lining the parade route. Some neighbourhoods have their own parade. Barcelona city has a big central parade every year which starts from the Moll de la Fusta in the Port Vell Marina of Barcelona. Barcelona adults and children over eight take part in the processions as carriage pages, criers, royal postmen and other helpers. 

Map Route 2017 Three Kings Parade
Mapa Barcelona "Cavalcada de Reis"

The "Cavalcada de Reis" Kings parade route is from Av. Marquès de l’Argentera, Pla del Palau, Pg. Isabel II, Via Laietana, Pl. Urquinaona, carrer Fontanella, Pl. Catalunya, carrer Pelai, Pl. de la Universitat, Rda. de Sant Antoni, Sepúlveda, Av. Paral·lel, Av. Reina Maria Cristina to finish at Av. Francesc Ferrer i Guàrdia by the Magic Fountain.



Open FULLSCREEN map of Kings parade route

16:30 Monday 5th January 
Arrival of Three Kings at Barcelona port - Moll de la Fusta OPEN MAP

The Reyes arrive from the sea onboard the Barcelona maritime museum's schooner (pailebot) called the "Santa Eulàlia." After the greeting festivities the Three Kings leave this location by car and go to the start of the parade "Cavalcada de Reis"  which starts at Parc de la Ciutatdella from the park entrance on the street "Av. Marques de l'Argentera."



18:00 Monday 5th January 

Start of Kings parade "Cavalcada de Reis"
Parc de la Ciutatdella OPEN MAP
Cavalcada de Reis - Kings parade in Barcelona starts on the street "Av. Marques de l'Argentera" outside the side entrance of the park "Parc de la Ciutatdella." This year the Kings will have new floats inspired by their countries of origin: the peaceful gardens of King Melchior, the enchanted forest of King Gaspar and the African savannah of Kind Baltasar.

21:00 Sunday 5th January
Av. de Francesc Ferrer i Guàrdia by Magic Fountain
Finish of Kings parade 
The Kings procession finishes at Av. de Francesc Ferrer i Guàrdia where the Magic Fountain music and light display is part of the parade finish MAP LINK
Pictures Three Kings parade





El Pessebre de Nadal - Spanish nativity scenes

Christmas crib scene Barcelona


The pessebre is the Catalan name for the Christmas nativity scene. A Spanish and Catalan Christmas would not be complete without a nativity scene with palm trees, shepherds, three kings, Mary, Joseph and the infant Jesus. And of course the cheeky Caganer figure. The nativity scene in Catalonia is called “El Pessebre de Nadal.” The word Pessebre means "stable" and El Pessebre de Nadal refers to the manger, or the crib, where Christ was born. It is called “El Belén de Navidad” in Spanish or “Belén de Judá” which means “stable of Judea.” 

The three most typical pessebre scenes are the birth of Christ in a manger, the Archangel Gabriel appearing to the shepherds or the star guiding the Three Kings to Bethlehem. Traditionally the pessebre is assembled on St Catherines day on 25th November and taken down on 2nd February, which is the feast of Candlemas, which marks the midpoint of winter, halfway between the shortest day, the winter solstice, and the spring equinox.



barcelona_christmas_market_wares



Crib scene displays can be found many places in Barcelona on plazas, in churches and in most Catalan homes, both in miniature form and also living nativity plays called "pessebre vivents." The official Barcelona outdoor nativity scene pessebre is the Pessebre a la Plaça Sant Jaume in the Gothic quarter of Barcelona. It is open from end November to 6th January from 10:00 to 22:00 daily. In 2016 the pessebre on Plaça Sant Jaume has a modern interpretation featuring with nine big transparent globes each inspired by verses of a poem by Catalan poet Josep Vicenç Foix: 'Ho sap tothom i és profecia' which means 'Everyone knows, it's a prophecy.'


Plaça Sant Jaume Pessebre Belen Barcelona 2016

You can see live nativity scenes at the Poble Espanyol - the Spanish Village in Barcelona on several days during the Christmas season, when Poble Espanyol invite Catalan villages to each perform their traditional theatre versions of live pessebres. At the weekend in December the squares, streets and alleys of the Spanish Village become a lovely a Christmas scene. Wonderful for the children! And of course you can see the nativity scene all year on the famous nativity facade of the unfinished Sagrada Familia church designed by Antoni Gaudi.




Christmas Sagrada Familia


Where to see Barcelona Christmas Pessebres?

Open-air pessebre Plaça de Sant Jaume end November to 6th January 
During December live nativity scenes at Poble Espanyol 
Cathedral La Seu cloister - entrance from Carrer del Bisbe
Mid-December to mid-January at Basílica de Santa Maria del Mar 
Mostra de Pessebres de la Parròquia de Betlem church La Rambla 107 

All December and early January at Casa de la Pia Almoina Av. Catedral 4
Sagrat Cor de Jesús del Tibidabo church on Tibidabo hill all December 

Museu Monestir de Pedralbes Pedralbes monastery all December






“El Caganer” - The Christmas crapper

Among the figures in a Catalan Christmas “Pessebre” nativity scene, you will find a funny little fellow, called "El Caganer," which is a unique and quite strange Catalan Christmas tradition which is said to bring good luck.



caganer_christmas_pants_down

"El Caganer" is the cheeky figure of Catalan navitivy scenes. “El Caganer” literally means “the crapper” or "the shitter" or the "pooer". So he is the Christmas crapper! The Caganer is a an elf or gnome-like figure wearing the traditional Catalan "barretina" red beret and with his trousers down, his backside bare, defecating! Very naughty guy! He or she can usually be found somewhere in the nativity scene if you look closely. The origins of el crapper are a bit murky, but apparently "El Caganer" has been dropping his britches to "fertilize the earth" since the middle of the 19th century at least. He is a very popular fellow in Catalunya and thought to bring good luck.

"El Caganer" can be seen in in many forms and many famous and  public figures including world leaders, have the honour of being portrayed as a small Christmas Caganer with their pants down at Christmas. 

Donald Trump caganer figure SpainBuy Donald Trump Caganer figure Among the new caganer figures in 2016 are politicians Donald Trump and Catalan President Carles Puigdemont and FC Barcelona trainer Luis Enrique. The "independentista" separatist caganer holding the independence flag is as popular as ever. The caganer figurines are all handmade and cost from €5 to €20 per figurine depending on size. Visit Caganer.com to see the new 2016 Caganer figures and the new Donald Trump Caganer. Or see all the new caganer figures in 2016 at their stall at the Santa Lucia Christmas market at Barcelona Cathedral. 
Read more about the Caganer Christmas figure.



The 2016 Donald Trump Christmas Caganer is on sale for €16 at the Fira de Santa Lucia market. So far he has not tweeted about it. 

christmas_caganer_trump_hilary


Virgin Montserrat Caganer


There was a suggestion by the city council in 2005 to leave the caganer out of the Plaça Sant Jaume official pessebre nativity scene. It was felt that the caganer was politically incorrect, especially when Barcelona is trying to encourage nightlife revellers not to use the streets as public toilets. But there were many protests against a proposed caganer ban and the idea was dropped. So the caganer can usually still be seen in the pessebre on Sant Jaume. See if you can spot him.



christmas_crapper_barcelona







Tió de Nadal - Caga Tió - The Christmas log

Caga Tio - Tio de Nadal - Christmas pooping log 

More pooing for Christmas in Barcelona. Another odd fecal Christmas tradition in Catalonia is the “Tió de Nadal” also called the "Caga tió". In this context the word "Tió" is a Catalan word which means “log." In Spanish "Tio" means "uncle” or “fellow". So "Tió de Nadal" means "Christmas log or trunk", not "Christmas uncle" or "Christmas guy." And Caga Tió means "shit log!" :-) The “Tió de Nadal” Christmas log is a hollow log or tree stump standing on stick legs with a very happy face painted on one end. It wears the typical Catalan barretina red hat.

You can buy Tió de Nadal logs in all sizes at Catalan Christmas markets and you can often see a big Tió de Nadal at children's Christmas events. The Christmas log is also called “Caga tió” which means "Poo log!"  

What is the Cata Tio tradition and why is it called Poo log? It works like this. The Christmas log is "fed," pampered and looked after by children from the 8th December ( the day of Immaculate Conception called “Dia de la Immaculada Concepció,”) and until Christmas Eve 24th December. The Caga Tió even gets a blanket to keep it warm at night. 


caga_tio_christmas_log

On Christmas Eve you put the Caga Tio almost in the fireplace. The children sing the “Caga Tió” song to get the log to “poo” some presents. While they are singing they hit the log with a stick. When the song is finished with a final load cry of “Caga Tió!” ( = the imperative tense of the the verb "to defacate," so it means "Shit log!") The children then leave the room to pray for presents giving the parents the opportunity to put some presents in the hollow log or under the blanket.

Then when the children come back they can get a present, which the log has pooed! Generally the present is candy and turron nougat and maybe one gift, as the main bulk of Christmas gifts for children in Spain are delivered on 6th January by the Three Kings. When the log has nothing left to "shit", it finishes the deed with a salt herring, a head of garlic, an onion, or it "urinates" by leaving a bowl of water. The Caga tió are generally regarding as communal gifts to be shared by everyone. After the log has finished crapping presents, if you have a fireplace, you can burn the “Tió" log after or just keep it for next year..


The Caga Tió traditions is a tradition with origins that go back centures to times when the fire was a central and important part of family life. The ashes of the burnt log were kept and spread by crops and near the stable and even on the beds as a rite to promote fertility.




“L’Home dels Nassos” – Noses Man

New Year's traditions in Barcelona. “L’Home dels Nassos” is a fun Catalan tradition. On New Year’s Eve 31st December, also called the day of San Silvestre or Saint Sylvester,  the "L’Home dels Nassos" roams the streets handing out candy to the children. The Nose man has as many noses on his face as there are days left in the year. Many children mistakenly expect to see a man with 365 many noses on his face - one for each day of the year. But of course on the last day of the year, he only has one nose. San Silvestre is also the name of a popular 10 km San Silvestre run in Barcelona on the last day of the year in Barcelona - and also on 31/12 at noon there is a children's party on Passeig de Gracia called Festa infantil de l'home dels nassos.
Read about Nassos - Noses man (in Catalan) 
 





Ice skating rinks Christmas

There are 2 permanent indoor Barcelona Barcelona ice skating rinks, one in the Eixample area and another at FC Barcelona stadium Camp Nou.   There is a temporary 400 m2 Christmas ice skating rink (pista de gel) in the shopping mall Pedralbes Centre in the upper part of Barcelona. See opening times of Pedralbes Christmas ice rink here. The Christmas ice rink on Plaza Catalunya was closed from 2015 and the Plaza Catalunya rink moved to La Farga centre in suburb L'Hospitalet de Llobregat close to Barcelona.






El Gordo Christmas lottery

The Spanish Christmas lottery El Gordo is the biggest lottery in the world and is drawn on 22nd December every Christmas. Read about El Gordo 2016










New Years' Eve in Barcelona
New Years Eve Parties and traditions




New Years Eve is celebrated in Spain with food and parties. New Years Eve is often celebrated by people gathering on Plaza Catalunya in the centre of town at midnight. Barcelona has an official New Years Eve event in 2015 at 11.30pm near the Magic Fountain. It is called the Barcelona New Year Chimes celebration. This New Years display will be at the Magic Fountain near Plaza Espanya and will last 45 minutes from 11:30 until 0:15. The celebration will consist of a main stage with two big screens for the countdown and then a firework display at midnight.  The event will feature human tower building by the Castellers de Sants human towers group as well as concerts, music, fireworks and the Magic fountain light and water display. The Barcelona New Year celebrations at the Magic Fountain will be a public family event and free and open to everyone. Get there 30 to 60 minutes early for a place close to the fountain. There is only standing room. You can see the fireworks from the whole avenue. 


There are many New Year Parties in Barcelona and we list some of the biggest clubs and parties on our events page about Barcelona New Years Eve parties with some of the best parties at top clubs as we get closer to the 31st December Most people choose to celebrate at bars, clubs and restaurants in Barcelona. All the top clubs and many hotels have New Year Parties. Visit our Barcelona nightlife page to find parties. and many people at parties or at home turn on the live transmission from Madrid's central square, Puerta del Sol at midnight to see the 12 chimes that take Spain into a New Year.  Fireworks generally do not play a major part in private New Year celebrations in Barcelona.


What happens in Spain when the bell chimes for New Year?  In Spain and Catalunya at midnight everyone eats twelve lucky grapes, one grape at each strike of the bell counting down to the new year. Then you toast the new year with Cava. According to an excellent book about oddities in Spain by Valerie Collins and Theresa O’Shea called “In the Garlic” this tradition is explained as follows: 


“As for the grapes, you might imagine that the custom of eating twelve lucky uvas at midnight on December 31 dates back to ancient times. In fact, it was dreamed up by Valencian grape-growers in 1909 as a way of getting rid of an extra-bumper crop. One grape after each chime of the clock to give thanks for the past year's good luck and in anticipation of the lucky year to come. A hundred years is a short time when it comes to gene development, but it seems the Spanish have already honed the how-to-eat-12-grapes-in-12-seconds-without-choking gene. Actually, they cheat. The Puerta del Sol clock in Madrid , which everybody watches on TV, is slowed down to a more digestible one strike every three seconds.”




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Sports events at Christmas Barcelona

New Years Day Swim Barcelona

Buff Epic 10k Obstacle Race December
Christmas day harbour swim - 25th December
New Years Day swim 1st January



Restaurants in Barcelona open
during Christmas and New Year


We have listed some NY events on our New Years Barcelona event page, but please note that many restaurants in Barcelona are opening during the Christmas holidays especially in hotels and in the centre of town, but we advise you to check the daily papers and contact the estaurants directly for reservations. 



Public Transport Christmas Barcelona

Barcelona Metro times at Christmas. 

24/12 Metro on Christmas Eve closes at 23:00. 
25/12 Metro opens at 05:00 and closes at 02:00 on Sunday morning. 
26/12 Boxing Day Sant Esteve. Metro open from 05:00 to midnight
31/12 New Year's Eve. Metro open all night on New Years Eve.

Christmas timetables Barcelona public transport
Night buses Barcelona

We wish you all
a Barcelona Happy Christmas!
 
Bon Nadal i Feliç any Nou!

barcelonayellow_christmas_card_2013

Pictures Barcelona Christmas 
Catalan and Spanish Christmas names 
Barcelona City website about Christmas in Barcelona 


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