Christmas [December 24-January 6]
December 24th to January 6th
At the end of November Santiago begins to deck itself out for Christmas. The streets and shops shine with Christmas lights, decorations and Christmas trees.
Christmas reaches its climax between December 24th and January 6th: Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, January 5thand Epiphany, which marks the end of the Christmas period and also the school holidays.
In addition to the typical celebrations of this time of the year, during Compostela’s Christmas you can visit cribs in the city’s socio-cultural centres and churches –the one in the Church of San Agustín stands out- attend Santiago’s Choir Festival, the Music Band’s special Christmas concerts, the Offering to the Apostle on December 30th… and there are specific activities for young ones.
Christmas also has to do with gastronomy. In the Santiago area, the traditional Christmas Eve dinner consisted of cod in a garlic and paprika sauce, with potatoes and vegetables; now, it also includes shellfish, which is an important ingredient in all fiestas. In relation to confectionery, in addition to “turrón” (a bar-shaped sweet that is generally made from almonds, pine nuts, hazelnuts or walnuts, all of which is toasted and mixed with honey and sugar), characteristic of Christmastime in all of Spain, there is also marzipan (made from ground almonds and pulverised sugar, which is presented in a variety of shapes) and “roscón de Reyes” (a circular cake made from flour, eggs, sugar and anis, containing a small surprise gift inside). These are also days featuring a lot of chocolate, in its different forms: chocolates, bars or hot chocolate with “churros” (fritters), a breakfast that is a must during the first morning of the year. And at midnight on New Year’s Eve, twelve grapes are eaten to ensure a good year.
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