We moved out to Spain in October and have spent the last 2 months working on the house. However we took some time off to enjoy our first Christmas and New Year the 'Galician way'.
The first big difference between here and the UK is that the Christmas decorations do not appear until the week before Christmas. Fantastic! We spent a night in Oviedo in Asturias in the week before Christmas and it was very 'tastefully' festive. The lights were great, nice carols and Christmas music piped in to the street, and everyone in a nice festive spirit.
We live in Ribadeo on the Galicia - Asturias border and so spent Christmas here. Christmas Day was 15 degrees and clear blue skies and there were lots of people out in their boats on the Eo estuary. Christmas lunch was Galician style - Anchovies to start, Pulpo (Octopus) to follow, then a 'big pink fish' and finally Cabrales Cheese with Eucaliptus honey. Not a Turkey in sight!!! Christmas Day night over here is wild!! Everyone goes out and the bars and clubs are open all night (and that is all night!!). Great.
In between Christmas and New Year the Spaniards keep up the party atmosphere. It is as though they are in training for New Years Eve. Everyone stays in the see the bells and eat their 'uvas'. This is the Spanish tradition of eating a grape for every chime of the bells. It is quite a sight to see people with their mouths stuffed full of twelve grapes trying not to laugh! And then they start to go out. A few at 1 o'clock, and then a few more and they just keep going all night. Most bars closed around 9 or 10 in the morning. We threw in the towel at 6.00am!!
In the UK that is about it for the festive season but here they have the 'Reyes Magos' on the night of the 5th January (twelfth night). There are processions in the streets with children on floats throwing sweets to everyone. They also have a special pastry called a Roscon de Reyes which has a hidden gift in it for the children (a bit like the sixpence in a Christmas pudding). And then once again they go out and party all night.
And that is it. Everywhere is very quiet now but it was truly a fun first festive season!!