What to see in Barcelona in December
With Christmas right around the corner this is a great time to have a festive break and where better than the Catalan capital – here’s our tips of What to see in Barcelona in December. Feliz Navidad y Próspero Año Nuevo!
Barcelona at Christmas
Who doesn’t love Barcelona? We love it at Christmas, and with so many interesting things to do in Barcelona, it’s a great time of year to visit. Take a break from sight seeing and shopping and check out some of the traditional festive sights, such as the nativity scene and of course the Christmas market in the main Cathedral square. See below to find out what those little guys hovering with their pants down are traditionally all about!!!
The Christmas Tradition in Barcelona
In Spain and in the region of Catalunya, Christmas is celebrated all of December until Twelfth Night – the 6th of January which they call ‘Three King’s Day’. This is the most important day (which is also Epiphany) because this is when everyone gets the presents! The Three Kings arrive by boats in Barcelona, and they are the ones with all the gifts for children. Christmas celebrations begin on La Nochebuena, 24th December when the Caga Tió is beaten and families gather for a meal then mass. Christmas Day (25th) El día de Navidad – sees the traditional meal of escudella i carn d’olla, a meat stew that you have with family.
From 8th December Christmas is celebrated as the streets are decorated with lights and the traditional Nativity Scene is set up in the Town Hall Square where there is also a giant Christmas Tree. You can see the The Reyes Magos Parade in Barcelona on 6th January. Children leave out water for the camels, their shoes for gifts (like stockings), and food for the Kings. The 26th is the ‘Feast of Saint Estaban’ which is celebrated with eating canelons, similar to Italian caneloni. The 28th is a day of practical jokes similar to April Fools day, where the ‘Day of the Holy Innocents’ is celebrated. Then it’s New Year’s Eve 31st December! You will hear lots of people saying “Bon Nadal!” which is “Happy Christmas” in Catalan, the local language of Barcelona.
The Christmas Market
There is a traditional Christmas Market, La Fira de Santa Llúcia, in Plaza Nova infront of the Cathedral selling handicrafts, decorations, foods and gifts. This is on until 23rd December and the best place to get a taste of Christmas and buy some gifts! The best day to visit is 13th which is the day of Santa Llúcia so all the activities are dedicated to Catalan traditions. Don’t miss the Carassa de Nadal parade where sweets are thrown from floats to the children. The most popular objects for sale here are the Caga Tió and Caganer….
What to see in Barcelona in December
The Caganer – the lucky man going to the toilet
You may be surprised to see this crouching guy with his trousers down in the open air Nativity scene (Pessebres) but he will be there somewhere – it’s traditional! One of the more odd Christmas traditions is the Catalan favourite of the ‘Caganer’ – a squatting guy, doing a poo. Not to everyone’s taste as a festive decoration – no house in Barcelona would be complete without one! They really are seen as traditional and there are a selection available for the Christmas period. He is supposed to be lucky but the origins of the tradition are a little hazy. You can also get a whole host of other characters such as politicians and celebrities – a squatting Trump anyone?
The Caga Tió
This little smiling log covered in a red blanket may look friendly but there’s a strange tradition to beat it on Christmas Eve! The locals buy a smiley faced log to put in homes 8th December, feeding it orange peel and traditional Christmas sweet; turron (like nougat) every evening until the 24th December while wrapping it up in a festive blanket. This log, or ‘crapping Uncle’ is full of sweets that he is supposed to poo out on the 24th when the children beat him with sticks!
Stay at Equity Point Hostels
We have 3 hostels in Barcelona so you are sure to find something to suit you. With a choice of locations and private rooms, Equity Point Gothic, Centric and Sea gives you the perfect choice for either uptown, in the middle, or down by the beach. Choose between great value accommodation in the upmarket shopping district, medieval old town or right on the beach front. All hostels have our usual great facilities and are sure to give you a festive welcome. Book your bed in Barcelona here
We hope you enjoyed our tips on What to see in Barcelona in December! See you at one of our hostels soon!