I have been lucky enough to experience New Year celebrations in Spain several times in recent years and it is very different to here in the UK! The most unique part of a Spanish New Year is the tradition of eating 12 grapes as the clock chimes midnight – las doce uvas de la suerte. In this blog post we will look at the origins of this Spanish New Year tradition.
As part of Italian folklore “La Befana” is a traditional Christmas legendary character associated with the celebration of Epiphany on 6th January after the 12 days of Christmas. She is an old lady who brings gifts to children across Italy in much the same way as Santa Claus.
Read on to find out more about this legend (in Italian and English).
La Befana si festeggia nel giorno dell’Epifania, che di solito chiude le vacanze natalizie.
(La Befana is celebrated on Epiphany, which usually closes the Christmas holidays.)
Il termine “Befana” deriva dal greco “Epifania” che significa “apparizione, manifestazione”.
(The word “Befana” comes from the greek “Epiphany” which means “appearance, manifestation.”)
“Campanas de Belén” (The bells of Bethlehem) is one of the most popular Spanish Christmas carols. “Belén” is also a popular girl’s name in Spain.
Listen to this famous Spanish Christmas carol here with the lyrics and key words translated below:
Campana sobre campana
y sobre campana una
asómate a la ventana [asomarse = to lean out / ventana = window]
verás a un niño en la cuna. [niño = baby boy / la cuna = cradle/cot]
(Coro) / (Chorus)
Campanas de Belén
que los ángeles tocan [tocar = to play/ring]
que nuevas me traéis.
A traditional Spanish sweet that is eaten at Christmas in Spain is “Mazapán de almendras” or “Almond marzipan”. Why not try making this at home and learn some Spanish at the same time by following this video in Spanish with the script below which has been translated into English.
Vamos a preparar mazapán.
We are going to make marzipan.
Los ingredientes que necesitamos son:
The ingredients that we need are:
200g de almendra molida: 200g of crushed almonds
200g de azúcar glas o polvo: 200g of caster or powder sugar
1 huevo separado (la clara de la yema): 1 separated egg (egg white)