You can truly celebrate Christmas and New Year’s Eve in Madrid and experience a wonderful time. During these holidays there is a lot going on in the city: Christmas markets, holiday lights, nativity scenes and the Three Kings Parade, Madrid offers it all!
The Holidays in Madrid start on the 22nd of December with the famous “El Gordo”. El Gordo is the Spanish Christmas Lottery and it is by far the biggest lottery draw in the country, everybody plays and the prizes are very big. This Spanish tradition is broadcasted live on the television.
In the different parts of Spain they have different traditions, but the most important days of the festivities are: December 24th, December 25th, December 31st and January 5th-6th.
December 24th: Christamas Eve
Families come all together to have a generous and nice dinner and afterwards young people go party.
December 25th: Christamas
People come together again for an extensive lunch, mostly containing fish, shellfish and some sweet products.
December 31st : New Year’s Eve
The 31st of December is called ‘Nochevieja’. Families come together to enjoy dinner and at midnight they eat the grapes. Everybody watch the TV where you can see a clock bell (the most famous one is in Puerta del Sol) which strokes 12 times (12 seconds). With every stroke, a grape is eagerly worked in the mouth, which guarantees happiness in the future. After midnight people go to parties and this can last until the early hours.
And this is not the end of the holidays because in Spain there is also a holiday called ‘Los Reyes Magos’ which can be translated as the Three Kings. People celebrate it with Christmas songs, festive lights and a festive procession, this last one on the 5th of January. The kings drive through the streets on horses or in festive cars and throw goodies to the children. That night, the children go to bed early the morning after find all the presents the kings left for them. The 6th of January is always a holiday so all the children can play with their new toys. The tipical food for this festivity is called the Roscón de Reyes (a round cake decorated with fruits).
Christmas markets close to Inhispania
In Madrid there are several Christmas markets (Mercados de Navidad in Spanish). You will find them all over the city and some of them are very close to our school. Christmas markets tend to open at around midday and normally close between 21:00 and 22:00. You will find the 3 best Christmas markets below:
1.The Plaza Mayor Christmas market.
With Christmas, Plaza Mayor becomes a huge market where you can find all types of Nativity Scenes figures and Christmas musical instrumentals. This year, this Christmas market is open from the 24th of December to the 31st of December and it is all free.
2. Plaza de Callao Christmas market.
Every year, Plaza Callao is a huge spectacle during Christmas. The local department store (El Corte de Inglés) installs a huge tree on the square, perfect for the ideal festive selfie! Here you can also shop for your Christmas decorations.
3. Mercadillo de la Plaza de Jacinto Benavente.
Just 300 meters from Sol you will find Plaza de Jacinto Benavente, at this square there is an annual craft market during Christmas. Here you will enjoy over 20 Christmas huts, Christmas decorations and beautifully handcrafted accessories.