Although Christmas in Barcelona, and in Spain for that matter, is not the wonderment that Christmas is in other European countries, such as Germany, Austria, England, and so, it is still a special season here. For example, there is a huge Christmas Market in front of the Cathedral at Pla de la Seu. The official name is the Fira de Santa Llucia and runs from November 29 to December 23 this year (2019.)
This is the largest market in the city and, by far, the best and most “Christmassy.” You can peruse dozens of booths with arts and crafts, get something to eat at the many food and drink stalls and even buy a Christmas tree or other natural Christmas decorations, such as mistletoe, holly, and so on. Additionally, the market is also home to the city’s nativity scene. For those of you not familiar with this primarily Catholic tradition, the nativity scene depicts, usually with statues, the birth of Jesus. There are statues of Mary, Joseph, and a replica of the manger where the birth took place. Typically, in Latin countries, the statue of the Christ child is not placed in the manger until the night of December 24. As time progresses, the three wise men are added on January 6, which is also known as Epiphany; more on this topic below.
There are also a few streets that are lighted up for the Christmas season. The major roadways with lights and decorations are Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, especially as you get closer to Passeig de Gracia, the Passeig de Gracia itself, Plaça de Catalunya, Diagonal and La Rambla. Additionally, a few streets and alleyways scattered across the city are lighted and decorated, but they are less so than the listed streets above. The city markets will also have some decorations and lights and, in some cases, may have their own nativity scenes. This is a great opportunity to explore the city at a time when the showcase the Christmas holiday.
New Year’s Eve
Aside from fireworks and the usual partying at bars, restaurants, open squares and so on, there is not much going on during this holiday. As in most major cities, it is important to plan ahead, select a location where you want to be and, if necessary make reservations, such as at a hotel or restaurant, and enjoy bringing in the New Year with family and/or friends. To that end, make sure to celebrate like a local and eat 12 grapes at the stroke of midnight; one grape per bell stroke. This is an old tradition, which is supposed to bring you good fortune in the upcoming year. The stores around the city will even sell packages with exactly 12 grapes in them, should you be interested in partaking.
If you are not interested in spending time indoors, as well as spending money on an expensive catered party at a restaurant or hotel, there is always the beach. In addition to providing plenty of fun alongside the other partiers, it is a great place to watch the fireworks. Also, since food courts are not always nearby, make sure to pack a picnic and a blanket where you can layout. As an alternative, there are always vendors walking up and down the beach with snacks and drinks, so have some cash ready.
Epiphany/The Three Wise Men
Twelve days after Christmas, on January 6, the arrival of the Three Wise Men is celebrated in a huge way in Barcelona. Traditionally, it was the day when these men, after following the star announcing the birth of Jesus, arrived at the manger and brought the Christ child gifts. Per that tradition, the Three Wise Men bring gifts to children on this day.
The holiday is celebrated in Barcelona starting with the arrival at the harbor of persons representing the There Wise Men. From there, a full parade starts and meanders through the city up Via Laietana, through Plaça Espanya, west on Sepúlveda, around Plaça Espanya, and then ends at Avinguda de la Reina Maria Cristina and Avinguda de Rius I Taulet. The procession will run from 1800 to 2100 hours.
Visit this website for more information: https://www.campamentos.info/noticias/cabalgata-de-reyes-magos-recorrido-y-horarios-en-ciudades-de-espana/Cabalgata-de-Reyes-Magos-2020-en-Barcelona
The parade is an amazing sight to behold. The floats are colorful and the people on them wear costumes. There are also lights and some pyrotechnics that go along with the full parade. And although the holiday is geared to children, as is the procession, however, the parade and festivities are for everyone. It is a holiday and event not to be missed if you live in Barcelona or happen to be around at the time.
Though Christmas in Barcelona is not the “white Christmas” one sees in movies, Christmas cards or cookie containers, it is an amazing fact that it is sunny even when it is cold. Therefore, the mood is cheery and, as noted above, you can even go and hang out by the beach, as long as you are properly attired.
Christmas Season in Barcelona