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Following the Catalan tradition of stands devoted to the Christmas holidays, the fair of the Sagrada Família offers many types of complements, from figures and accessories for the traditional nativity scenes to Christmas trees and various decorations. The handicrafts from different countries and by different artists also stand out. The festive atmosphere around this characteristic area of Barcelona is complemented with stands of craft foods such as torrons, cheeses, cold meats, sweets and chestnuts.
The Spanish tradition of the Three Wise Men would not be the same without the Fair of the Three Wise Men that is organized every year along the avenue Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, between the streets of Muntaner and Rocafort. There you can find all kinds of toys, gifts, handicrafts and Christmas typical products. If you want, it is also possible to bring new toys to the stands of solidarity there.
In Catalonia and Spain, the night of the January 5th is the most important day for all the children because the Three Wise Men visit every home and leave presents and toys for them while they sleep. According to the tradition, the previous days the children have to write a letter to Their Majesties the Three Wise Men asking for the presents they want and guaranteeing they have behaved well during the year that is ending. Otherwise, the Three Wise Men (that know everything) will leave them sweet coal instead of presents.
Since times have changed, today the children can send their letter via email or through the website of the Three Wise Men, as well as via regular mail or through a royal page. The Fair of the Three Wise Men is also open on the night of January 5th until 3 am, in case Their Majesties have any last minute emergency.
Before the end of the summer, the different districts and neighbourhoods of the city will celebrate their patron saint festivities. During September, these celebrations are the preview of the city's great festivity, la Mercè. This is the case of the Horta, Poble Nou and the Gràcia area (including La Salut, Vallcarca and Penitents districts). During October, Les Corts and Sarrià. In November Sant Andreu de Palomar.
All these neighbourhoods dress their streets for the celebration and for a few days they are brimming with activities, music, concerts, popular dinners and games for the young ones. This tradition is much loved by the people of Barcelona, as it allows for more interaction between neighbours and direct participation, all thanks to their pride for belonging to the same neighbourhood.
It is said that this is the most magical night of the year, and these three characters are definitely to 'blame'. The Three Kings are enthusiastically welcomed by children and adults every 5 January, just a few hours before they visit our homes bringing gifts for everyone who has been good during the rest of the year.
The afternoon of the 5th of January, the Three Kings, with the amazing entourage, will reach the city by sea on the Pailebot Santa Eulàlia. Once finished the Welcome Ceremony, they will parade around the city, giving sweets to the children as a prelude to this unique night.
The Three King's floats, magnificently decorated, reflect all of the excitement and magic of this special tradition. Weeks beforehand, boys and girls have sent their letter to the Three Kings, asking for their gifts and at last they will see them in real life.
On the sixth, Three Kings Day, there is always the traditional Three Kings Cake (Tortell de Reis) made with marzipan, candied fruit and pine nuts, a typical delicacy of this special holiday. The cake contains two hidden surprises: a dry bean and a figurine (normally representing one of the Kings). According to tradition, the one who finds the figurine inside their portion is crowned king or queen while the one who finds the bean has to pay for the cake.
Beside the decorated tree, Catalan houses also display a Nativity Scene at Christmas; the representation with figures to recreate the birth of Jesus. Streets, squares, churches and entities of the city each prepare their own Nativity Scene, some with real people acting as figures. The most famous one is in the Plaça Sant Jaume, but there are many others such as the Iglesia de Belen, the Pia Almoina, Associació de Pessebristes de Barcelona, Reial Monestir de Santa Maria de Pedralbes, or Poble Espanyol. There are also scenes that underline a particular feature, such as the Nativity Scene of the Casa dels Entremesos, which has a touch of humour with the giant figures of Ciutat Vella.
Undoubtedly a tradition that deserves exploring this Christmas.
A large area, totally free of traffic, with different places to explore, most of them in the open air. That's the Poble Espanyol de Barcelona, an iconic visitor attraction in the heart of Montjuïc. Every Sunday, there's a different activity: theatre, dance, music, magic, treasure hunts, etc. Throughout the year there are loads of activities to ensure you have a great day out with the family: Carnival, a Giants' Parade, a Puppet Festival, the Click and Go Fair, the Main Festival, the Medieval Fair, Christmas at the Poble, Halloween... and new additions, including a fantastic flower festival and Midsummer Eve party tailored to all the family. In short, a wide range of activities for all the family.
To celebrate the Christmas holidays, the Three Kings Factory is opening to the public so that visitors can see some of the facilities, being the ones that don't interfere with the normal operation of the Factory, obviously.
You can take the opportunity of visiting the Magic Post Office where the friendly elves on duty will attend to all of the children who wish to hand their letters in to the Kings. The office has a direct line into the toy production area and, of course, to the relevant King, and the supervisors will greet visiting families, take their letters and help place them into a giant postbox.
The Factory works away normally as evidenced by the fantastic light show visible through its huge windows.
It is also possible to visit the Toy Store where completed toys are placed in order and stored before their majesties The Three Kings distribute them on the night of 5 January.
Seeing them rehearse and, most of all, joining in, is a thrilling experience! The human towers – castells – are one of the most authentic and unique cultural manifestations in Europe and consist of the building of human towers up to nine and ten tiers high.
Castells have been awarded World Heritage status by Unesco and are part of Catalan cultural identity while conveying values of social cohesion, solidarity and personal betterment.
Do you want to find out about these everyday people who are able to do extraordinary things? Do you want to find out first hand what it means to be a casteller?. You'll be able to see a rehearsal and find out about the world of castellers accompanied by a member of the team. If you wish, you will also be able to join the pinya (base tier) of a tower.
The Christmas season in Barcelona is special for many reasons. Firstly there are the traditional elements, like the Christmas markets, particularly the Santa Llúcia one by the cathedral, which has been held since 1786 and is where local families go to buy figures for their cribs. Talking of which, pessebres (which is what cribs are called in Catalan) can be seen in places around the city including Plaça Sant Jaume, City Hall and the Reial Monestir de Pedralbes. And pessebres vivents ('living nativity scenes') feature real people (and animals) acting out the Christmas story – if the chance comes up to see one, for example at Poble Espanyol, don't miss it.
On a more modern note, Barcelona is conscious of the need to be environmentally aware at this time of year, and Plaça Catalunya hosts a fair promoting responsible consumption, as well as fun and games for all ages. As the glittering lights brighten the streets at night, why not feast on some roasted chestnuts from one of the stalls around town before enjoying a concert of Christmas music?
Greet 2020 by celebrating New Year's Eve in Barcelona. For the past few years, crowds have gathered at in Plaça d'Espanya, along Avinguda Reina Maria Cristina, and at the foot of Montjuïc. This is the venue for Barcelona's biggest celebration with a spectacular firework display, music and live performances.
And after joining in the local tradition of eating 12 grapes before the 12 strokes of midnight come to an end, you will find many venues perfect for spending the first hours of the new year. You can go to great clubs like the Razzmatazz or Sala Apolo, which organise parties until daybreak on January 1, or you can enjoy the celebrations laid on at Poble Espanyol, which are very popular with young people. You can also go to restaurants or flamenco clubs, which usually offer an evening full of entertainment with meals, music and dancing all included.
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