New Year's holidays in Catalonia

New Year's holidays in Catalonia are very fond of and celebrate them on a grand scale. In Barcelona, the “Christmas company” has already begun with might and main. Every day, all kinds of garlands, light boxes and Christmas trees appear on the cozy streets of the city, which create a pleasant premonition of the main holiday of the year.
The Catalans celebrate the New Year holidays in a special way, and the New Year spent in this beautiful city will no doubt be remembered for a lifetime!
Let's take a closer look at the traditions of celebrating the New Year in Barcelona.
Firstly, the Spaniards and Catalans begin to celebrate, of course, early. In Spain, the beginning of the Christmas holidays is December 8 - Immaculate Conception Day (Inmaculada Concepción). From that day on, they begin to decorate houses. One of the main Christmas decorations is by no means Santa Claus with the Snow Maiden, but the “birth of Christ scene”, as it is called Belen or Pesebre here (we will show you the brightest places as part of a walking tour). In Catalonia, a "live" Pesebre (staging a nativity scene with the participation of actors or local residents) is often practiced, this is not a purely Catalan tradition, but here it is especially widespread.
An integral character of this scene is Caganer (Kaganer). This is a figurine of a Catalan shepherd in traditional dress, sitting with his pants down and urinating! To us, this tradition, dating back to the 18th century, may seem strange, but for the locals, the occupation that Caganer is depicted in seems quite worthy, and his poop is considered a sign of good luck! They fertilize the land, heralding a good harvest next year. On the shelves of Catalan New Year's shops, in the "Caganer pose" you can find figures of all the main political figures, show business stars and even the Pope (may the Catalans forgive such blasphemy).
Unusual traditions of celebrating the New Year in Barcelona
The topics of caring for the harvest do not end with one Caganer, all in the same traditions, so close to the Catalan people, another character appears - Tío de Nadal. His appearance in the house also falls on December 8th. It is also called El Cagatió or “pooping uncle” – it is a log with legs, on the log of which a smiling face in a traditional red cap is depicted. Every day, from December 8 until Christmas Eve, children take care of Tió, cover it with a checkered blanket so that it does not freeze on cold December nights, and in the evenings they feed it with fruit skins and sweet turon (similar to halva or nougat with nuts) in order to be full and put on weight. And when the time comes, he properly fertilized the dwelling with gifts and sweets. On the eve of Christmas, children are given sticks, and they frantically beat Tió, accompanying the beating with a traditional Christmas carol with threats: “Pokai, uncle, with hazelnuts and turron, and if you don’t want, we will beat you with a stick!”. Of course, after such threats, under the blanket covering Caga Tio, children find many sweets and gifts.
Unusual traditions of celebrating the New Year in Barcelona
How is Christmas dinner going?
Christmas Eve is very important for many Catalans. It is on this day that they prepare a traditional dinner, allowing themselves some culinary delights. Dinner usually starts with a meat rich and thick soup called Carn d'Olla, then various tapas (something like canapes) are served with local products such as olives and cheeses, langoustines, jamon. Recently, more and more often on the Christmas table you can find stuffed chicken (capón relleno), baked turkey, lamb or fish, duck in orange sauce, and for dessert there are gifts of “beaten” Tió.
Christmas (December 25) is a family holiday, so after dinner, the Catalans visit their relatives to wish them a Merry Christmas and give them gifts. If you have a lot of relatives, do not worry that you did not have time to visit them for Christmas. On December 26, Catalonia celebrates the day of St. Stephen, on this day that part of the family meets that they could not meet the day before. Cannelloni are the main dish of this dinner. The Catalans are known for their frugality, originally cannelloni were stuffed with leftover meat from the Christmas table, but as time goes on, life is getting better and such traditions die off.
It is impossible to ignore another important tradition on the eve of the New Year, namely the draw of the Spanish Christmas lottery - El Gordo de Navidad, which ranks second in the world in terms of winnings and has been held since 1872. Catalonia has its own lottery "Grossa de Cap d'Any". On average, local residents spend 50 euros to buy lottery tickets for the New Year's draw. During the drawing, all attention is focused on the lottery, and its results on New Year's Eve are discussed in every cafe in Barcelona. Take a chance, participate in the lottery and, perhaps, this year the whole city will discuss how you managed to get fabulously rich in an instant! This year 2 billion 380 million euros will be drawn!