Christmas lights, christmas markets, christmas food… Yes, it is the most wonderful time of the year! I do not only love christmas because of the lovely celebration with family and friends, but also because the weeks leading up to the holidays are filled with so much fun. There aren’t many things that can make me happier than walking around in streets decorated with christmas lights and festive shop windows. And Barcelona is the perfect place for this.
The holiday season in Spain might be a little different than in The Netherlands, but it still gets very festive around here. You might not find mulled wine on a street corner, but at the christmas market “Fira de Santa Llúcia” in front of the Cathedral of Barcelona you will definitely get in that holiday mood.
The “Santa Llúcia” christmas market is celebrating its 230th (!) anniversary this year. It celebrated its first edition in 1786 and has supposedly not missed a year since. On the fair you can find 287 different stands. The bigger part of these stands sell Nativity scenes and hand-made products, but over the past years you can also find more and more christmas decorations, like wreaths and christmas trees. I must admit that the trees are a bit expensive, but for the real fans it might be worth it! (We have a little, fake tree at home…)
As you are walking along the different stands, you might get distracted by all the wooden and clay figures. Last year I wrote a post about the wooden log or “Tió de Nadal“. But another main attraction on this christmas market is definitely the “Caganer“. This typical Catalan figure probably raises some eyebrows among tourists.
The caganer is a typical figure that cannot be missed in nativity scenes in Catalonia, and it is usually hidden somewhere behind the stable, for example. This figure is usually a farmer, wearing a typical Catalan hat and black pants. This figure is actually doing poo, I am not kidding, and this is seen as a way of fertilizing the soil for the next year. In other words, the caganer is supposed to bring luck and happiness for the coming year. Not putting it in your nativity scene might bring bad luck, so you should definitely buy one if you still have the chance!
It has also become fashion to display celebrities as a caganer. So, you can see many politicians, but also famous athletes like Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, and players of FC Barcelona. Even though I prefer the traditional figure, this year I had to make an exception and buy a figure very known to me: Saint Nicholas (or Sinterklaas in Dutch). For me, this was a very funny way to introduce a bit of the Dutch culture into our apartment.
If you have become curious about the caganer or simply want to experience a Spanish christmas market, you can still do so till the 23rd of December in Barcelona. I will probably go there one more time, before I start to pack my bags for a short trip to The Netherlands. I cannot wait anymore!
Since this is probably my last post before Christmas, I would like to wish you all happy holidays, dear readers!