My first ever Christmas in Spain

Hearing about Christmas traditions in other countries is always so exciting so I wanted to share my multicultural Christmas this year with you even if it’s already mid-January. It was my first time to spend a Christmas in Spain, and I enjoyed it a lot!

My first Christmas in Spain

I spent my Christmas this year in Lucena in the province of Andalusia, Spain getting to know better my boyfriend’s family and friends, relaxing and enjoying the Ecuadorian and Spanish culinary.

While I was away from my family in Finland and missed them a lot, especially because my grand mother fell ill during Christmas, my holiday was filled with moments with people that made me feel like a part of family. I celebrated Christmas and New Year like every year, but in a new way, as a Finnish girl with an Ecuadorian family in Spain.

Lucena in Christmas time

Lucena is a city of about 50  000 inhabitants, but during Christmas time many people come to visit their home city, and also the people go outside on the streets. The weather is warm enough to stay outside and have tapas and wine. All the time from Christmas up to the Reyes on the January 6th are considered as Christmas time, and many people have holidays so the town is more lively that normally.

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The streets are decorated with orange trees and Christmas lights!
The Christmas Belen in the center of Lucena
The Cathedral in the center of Lucena.

Christmas is a party!

In Finland Christmas is a time of calming down and being at home with your family, but in Andalusia it’s a time to party! Actually, anything here is a reason to party! 

In Finland the presents are given on the 24th, while the presents traditionally are given in Spain on the Dia de los Reyes Magos celebrated on the 6th of January

 On the Christmas Eve, Nochebuena, it’s a tradition to dress up and go out on the streets to have tapas and wine with friends already in the afternoon. We went out to meet friends and do just that.

We drank the local wine called “vino fino“, which is a strong white wine.  It has a strong taste that needs some getting used to, so I preferred “rioja”, that is the same as ‘vino tinto’ in Barcelona, red wine. Of course beer, (order a caña) is widely preferred, but as a celiac I didn’t drink it. The most popular tapas are tortilla de patatas, cheese, jam, fried sea food, sea food salad and many many more.

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Pulpo a la Gallega is fried squid on a plate on potatoes with salt and paprika spice, which also a celiac can eat! This is one of my favourite tapas.

Christmas Dinner

The Christmas dinner was with the family and after that we went out to party with friends. For dinner there was first tapas such as cheese, freshly cut ham and for warm dish cooked pork, rosolli (a Christmas salad from Finland) and the sweet rice (rice with raisins and walnuts).

The ham, ‘jamon ibérico’, was set up in the kitchen and freshly cut for dinner. It was delicious!

Our Christmas tree!

New Year’s Eve and the 12 grapes

On the New Year’ s Eve, Nochevieja, there was a big celebration again! We had a dinner with the family first, and we were watching the local tv show with Spanish celebrities. When the midnight came, we prepared to eat our 12 grapes, which are traditionally eaten on the count down to 12 o’clock. I was able to eat them all, while I must say that grapes with seeds are a bit hard to swallow. Eating the 12 grapes should bring you good luck and prosperity for the next year.

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Thank you 2016!

Being open-minded and having courage brings you to new situations, where you might feel homesick or out of your comfort zone, but these experiences are the ones that make life worth living for! I have been so lucky this year to have ended up in where I am now, having courage to leave my old behavior patterns and opening myself up to something new. I have just followed my heart and things have “fallen” into their right place.

I hope I will keep this curious mind and trust in life also this year 2017 and I hope the same for you!

Hyvää Uuttavuotta! Feliz Año Nuevo! Happy New Year! 

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