Sunday December 2, 2012
If you're expecting Christmas in Andalucia to be somewhat like it is back home, you're in for a surprise. Everything from the beginning to the end of the season is going to be different from anything you've ever experienced before.
In Andalucia, as in the rest of Spain, there is a bit of a debate regarding how deeply foreign Christmas customs should be allowed to take root. This debate mainly centres on who should be allowed to bring the gifts: Father Christmas or the Three Kings? Traditionalists have it clear that the Kings should maintain their post and that Santa Claus had better watch where he treads. This however, does not stop millions of families from allowing "Papá Noel" to sneak past the sentinels.
A lesser discussed issue is the competition between the Christmas tree and the nativity scene, called a "Belén" (Bethlehem) in Spanish. You can be sure that in most homes here the manger scene will feature more prominently and be treated with greater tender loving care than the tree will ever hope to see.
At Christmas the streets of Granada are embellished with thousands of lights and Christmas decorations. The sounds of Christmas carols are heard in the streets, where people are very busy shopping, meeting friends or just taking a walk with the family to see the magical atmosphere that invades the city at this time. Children and adults enjoy visiting the many Nativity scenes (belenes) that spring up all over Granada and compete for the Town Hall reognition and awards.. Each year the Town Hall organizes a contest to promote this tradition and rewards the best "Belenes" in town according to three categories: artisanal, traditional and popular. This visual representation of the birth of Jesus is a tradition that comes from the thirteenth century or earlier. You can make a route to see the best "belenes" of Granada and enjoy the atmosphere in the city during Christmas and New Year
Another Spanish Christmas tradition is the Christmas Lottery: "La Loteríade Navidad " (the biggest of the year). Is drawn on 22nd December and usually people follows the event on TV, or on the radio if they are working. It´s a classic.If you have a chance to watch it, you will see why is very entertaining (even if you can´t understand a word). This is the first day of the school holidays and marks the begining of the season
Christmas Shopping - During All Chrismas
There are several areas of Christmas shopping in Granada. Major clothing brands like Zara, H & M, Mango, Promod, .. are located near Puerta Real, There are also many small shops very interesting and original. Undoubtedly, you have to visit the following streets: Recogidas, Reyes Católicos, Zacatín, Mesones and Puentezuelas. If you're looking for toys, in calle Alhóndiga there is an interesting shop: Eureka. During all Christmas, shops open on Sunday!
Christmas Market - 22 December - 6 January
Every year during the month of December until the 5th of January takes place in Plaza Bib-Rambla the traditional Christmas market. You can find traditional Nativity figures and everything you need to decorate your home, different types of crafts: leather, ceramics, silver, etc ... traditional Christmas sweets made in the local convents, wooden toys and some other things.