Saturday, 24 December 2011

Noche Buena ....... Christmas Eve


Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.
The children were nestled all snug in their beds……...

What?      Not a chance!.....

Spanish children go to bed when their parents go to bed. If the adults are partying all night, then so are the children.

This meal is one of the most important meals of the year.


Seafood is widely eaten and families often hang a ‘pata de jamon’ in their kitchen and slice off cuts of cold ham over the Christmas period.  Slicing the ham is a fine art and not easy to get it as wafer thin as it should be.    


 Some sing carols around the crib of the nativity scene (Belen) which remains without the baby until the stroke of midnight.


 Other families go to midnight Mass but many in modern-day Spain watch the Christmas programmes on TV while washing down Christmas sweetmeats of Turron (similar to nougat, made with toasted, sweet almonds), Mantecas (a range of butter-based biscuits) and  Polverones, (a cake/biscuit made with almonds, flour, and sugar) with Cava (Spanish champagne) after their meal.

 Spaniards' love of good food and wine and the leisurely sharing of it and good company is optimised over the festive period.

Christmas Day, is an altogether quieter day.
While there is some giving of gifts at Christmas these days, particularly to the children, the traditional time of giving and receiving is January the 6th, the Epiphany or "Los Reyes" ("The Kings").