Sunday, December 13, 2009

Advent Calendar- Holiday Travel to Spain

Three generations at Plaza Mayor, Madrid

My husband is the only member of his family in the United States. Everyone else lives in Madrid, Spain- parents, cousins, aunts and uncles. Every few years we travel to Madrid from New Hampshire, to celebrate the holidays, and the first time we did this I had only been married about five months! It was my first Christmas away from New England, and yes, I was terribly homesick. But I quickly learned that in most of the world Christmas goes on without snow, presents or Santa Claus. Actually, I love a Christmas that was just church, family and a traditional dinner, especially if that dinner is Spanish food!

In Spain, Christmas starts at Christmas and goes on until January 6th, which is the twelve days we sing about here, but seeem to forget about. In that time period the special days are Christmas Eve, Christmas, the feast of the innocents (the day Herod slew the babies, but it's celebrated with costumes and tricks, like Halloween), New Year's Eve, New Year's Day and Three Kings Day. It's a two week period of parties, family and lots fun!

New Year's Eve in Madrid

When my daughter was little we used to bring her Christmas stocking to Madrid, so we could have Santa, and then stay long enough for her to have presents from the Three King's, too, which is the day the children in Spain recieve their gifts on January 6th. She had the best of both worlds that way! She learned Spanish Christmas carols and to enjoy lamb for Christmas dinner, with tapas at the pub in the afternoon. She grew up learning a traditional New England Christmas and what it was like in Europe, too. The best part of all this was that she got to meet her great grandparents, who have all passed away since then, and I hope she will always remember those Christmases when we were four generations together.

Please see my post on December 2, 2009 for a recipe for Three King's Cake.

Copyright 2009, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

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