Christmas Traditions in Spain

By Joseph J. Saes Vera

Cabalgatas - a Kings' Parade in Spain

Christmas, the time of the year when family and friends get together to experience the pleasure of sharing. No wonder then, that it is celebrated all over the world. In Spain, however, we have some particular traditions. In this blog, I will explain three of them.


Spanish children do not really care about Santa Claus. They do care, on the other hand, about Los Reyes Magos. The reason is because Los Reyes (the Three Kings known as Melchior, Gaspar and Baltazar) are the ones that bring the gifts to the good children. But they do not come on Christmas Eve. Instead, towns and cities hold huge cabalgatas (parades) on the night of the 5th of January, where the Kings parade through the towns on floats and throw out sweets for the kids.

El Gordo

El Gordo is the Spanish Christmas Lottery. It is a huge event in which the winning numbers (sung out by a choir of children) are announced live on TV on the morning of 22nd of December. It is quite common for friends and co-workers to buy a share of a single ticket together and split the winnings.

Caga Tió

In Catalonia, where I come from, there is also the tradition of the Caga Tió. Basically, a wooden log dressed up with a face, legs, blanket and a barretina (Catalan hat) is gradually fed by children till Christmas Eve. Then they sing the Caga Tió song, whack the log with a stick and ask him “to poop out” turrón (sweet nougat) and other treats for them. Once the song is finished, they take off the blanket to discover all their hidden sweets. I do not know how this tradition originated, but I can guarantee you that it is fun to watch!

Cago Tió tradition in Catalonia in Spain
The tradition of Caga Tió