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Wednesday, January 7

Christmas Time.....................Our First Experience of a Spanish Christmas

We have just seen ourselves safely through our first Christmas in Spain. I was wondering how we would manage so far away from friends and family, but here we are already into early January and we have managed just fine.

One major difference between Christmas here and back in England, is that Christmas does not start as soon as the Easter Eggs have been taken off the shelves in Tesco's, no ten minute adverts with polar bears in November, in fact, you would have been hard pressed to notice even in early December that Christmas was coming at all. 

Ttraditionally Christmas starts here on December 8th, PERFECT, and in general, the local community here still base their celebrations on the the religious theme, 

Christmas really started following the Spanish National Lottery draw held on December 22nd and is referred to as "El Gordo" the fat one, called so mainly because it is the 
This years 2nd place winners
largest national lottery drawer in the world, I am told the prize fund runs into billions and the drawer can take the whole morning.

 Villages are lit up with the usually fairy lights etc and we have seen a few Christmas trees, but they tended to be in shop windows etc. Most of our Spanish Friends had the traditional  miniature Nativity scenes called Belene's, these usually consist of the Baby Jesus, Mary Joseph and the three Kings  -    Baltsar, Melchior and Gaspar. 


However, these can be the most elaborate of affairs, and on a trip out to the shops before the festivities began, we came across the most amazing displays, and the most amazing models to buy.                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

  I am now determined that next year we will have our own Belene in the house. 

This year we had a very small tree, and that was it just a nod to the festivities

Christmas eve is the "biggy" here, and is known in Spanish as "La Noche Buena," literally translated as "The Good Night." In Spain it is celebrated with a large family feast, which is eaten late in the evening and can last a couple hours.  We were lucky enough to be invited to our good friends for La Noche Buena.  The table groaned with Shellfish, hams, cheeses breads, pork , sweets and plenty of Cava

BUT more importantly it was spent with good friends

Christmas Day was our turn and I prepared for our Spanish Friends a fairly traditional English Christmas dinner  so we had

  • Roasted Chicken   -  could not find Turkey
  • Carrots in orange and maple glaze
  • Brussels Sprouts with chestnuts by my own fair hands) and bacon
  • Red Cabbage in port and cinnamon
  • Roast potatoes
  • Chestnut and Apricot stuffing
Followed by
  •  Chocolate orange spiced cake
  •  Maple Cheesecake

To say I was nervous, is an understatement, but everything was eaten, seconds were had, and my ability to cook on in the oven from hell has been given a great boost. 

There were other great evenings out over the Christmas and New Year period, all with new friends made here in Spain.  The warmth and friendship offered to us, by the people we have met,certainly made our first Christmas away from  family in the UK more bearable.

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