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Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Lights in BarcelonaImage by Jeff Hester via Flickr

Christmas Breaks in Barcelona

Author: Asif Khan

Christmas seems to begin earlier and earlier each year. It seems that no sooner do the skulls, witches and vampires for Halloween leave the shop windows do we see Santa Claus, Rudolph and the elves appear. Then as soon as Saint Steven's day arrives, the shops are full of the January sales! Well, Barcelona in Spain is different. OK, so maybe the decorations do start to spring up a little after Halloween, but Christmas festivities in Barcelona breaks go on for much longer than just 26th December.
New Years is a huge celebration, in the bars and restaurants, and on the streets. People are dressed up and there is a carnival atmosphere. As the clocks strike twelve, the people of Barcelona eat twelve grapes in time with each of the chimes.
There will be bright lights everywhere you go and gifts for anyone on your list. You might even find some snow. However, not as much as you may find in other parts of Europe. You will find singing all around, specialty foods that are only treasured during this time. You will also find that many places like museums celebrate the holidays but are not open on Christmas Day.
Shopping in the Catalan Capital of Barcelona is one of the best things to do to aside from visiting many of the cultural and heritage sites the Mediterranean city has to offer. Shopping malls and small winding alleyways filled with shops are the hub of the centre of the city - the old town, or Casc Antiguo - and there are certainly some bargains to be had if you know the right places.
On Christmas Eve in Barcelona you will find it filled with special visitors in the homes there. Mainly those homes with children will get a visit from the "caga tiĆ³" a round wooden log which represents the practice of giving presents. This log marks the beginning of the holiday season and that Santa Claus is coming. This is also the time many families gather and spend some time outdoors. During the day the parents will hide the log and then the children will find it and hit it with a stick to bring forth presents.
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