*This is a collaborative post
As a family we love travelling and one of the best things about experiencing new countries for us is finding out as much as possible about the different cultures, the history and traditions of the places we visit.
This year, Catalunya (Catalonia) brought their Christmas traditions to us, sending us a hamper that encompasses their twelve days of Christmas – everything that symbolises a traditional Catalan Christmas. I couldn’t wait to work through the hamper, experiencing Christmas Catalan style.
The traditions of Catalunya seemed so familiar to me. They are all things that the Catalan people would look forward to and enjoy over the festive season, mostly revolving around good food, good drink, family, friends and celebration.
Food is always a huge part of our Christmas so it was great to see that in Catalunya they see food as a big part of Christmas too – kicking off the twelve days of Christmas with Neules, a really lovely, crisp and thin pastry treat that we’ve been enjoying dunked in chocolate and with a nice glass of wine! Another day had us enjoying Torró nutty nougat – a treat that is so lovely at Christmas too.
Other festive food that we’re looking forward to trying is Escudella i carn d’olla – a Catalan soup that is traditionally eaten on Christmas day and Canelons – a pasta dish eaten on Boxing Day. It was interesting to find out that just like us and turkey, in Catalunya they have dishes that they love to eat on specific days of the year.
Other than food, Catalunya have a traditional nativity scene – much like we do at home – with beautiful ornaments known as Catalunya as Pessebre and an ornamental Caganer – a pretty unique figure in the nativity. The children loved these figures and really appreciated how symbolic of a Catalan Christmas they are.
The children love decorating the house for Christmas so they were excited to set up the nativity and put the Tió de Nadal in pride of place. They loved the cute Christmas log ornament and I know it will be coming out year after year in the future.
Christmas music plays all through the festive season in the Catalan especially Catalunya as Nadales – Catalan Christmas carols. There’s also a Catalan Christmas poem which is recited by children on Christmas day. I think often we feel like the whole world will sing the same festive songs as us so it was lovely for the children to hear some from a completely different culture.
The Catalan Christmas celebrations run all the way through the new New Year when grapes are eaten in time with the clock chiming at midnight on New Year’s Eve, Catalan Cava is cracked open on New Year’s Day and Tortell, a pastry dessert, is eaten on 6th January to celebrate Three Kings Day.
We’ve really enjoyed immersing ourselves in Catalan culture in the run up to Christmas and it feels like we’ve really taken time to experience Christmas traditions so different – and yet quite similar – to our own.
*This is a collaborative post