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Explore Madrid, Spanish Traditions
1. Go to a Christmas market

Nothing better to feel the christmas like a Christmas market.

The one in the main square is the most famous, but beware, it is also the busiest. The center of Madrid can be a bit overwhelming on weekends and holidays, and this situation increases significantly during these dates. This is a market composed of more than 100 booths dedicated to the sale of traditional Christmas products: nativity scenes, sweets, decorations and the big star for children, joke items.

 

If you want to get closer to a market where you can move more smoothly, you have the independent design market Nómada Market, Christmas edition. In the Market of the barley and only for a few days (December 14, 15 and 16) you will be able to get the creations of many artists, also, you can find street food and fun activities.

El Rastro is the best-known market in Madrid on Sundays throughout the year, and at Christmas it is not far behind. It is located in the neighborhood of La Latina and is so well known that, if you miss the map, anyone from Madrid can tell you how to get there.





2. Ice skating

In winter, several places are enabled to enjoy this fun activity in Madrid. The main and best-qualified place is the ice palace, and also the one that is open the longest during the year.



On these dates you can also find “Pop Up” tracks through different parts of the city. Perhaps the most spectacular is the Crystal Gallery of the Cibeles Palace, where children and adults can enjoy a 400m² track next to a large Christmas tree.




3. Watch a Christmas play or musical

Nothing better to take refuge from the cold and escape from the world than to go to see a play, or for the most musical, listen to it. In Madrid the offer is huge: from classic Christmas stories like the nutcracker, to more modern plays. Another good option is to choose a holidays that is not related in terms of themes with Christmas but which are especially enjoyable during these dates. Like the super blockbusters as The Lion King. You will find tickets for practically everything in ticketea.



4.The Navibus

Are you crazy about Christmas lights? Well now there is a double-decker bus with a duration of 50-60 minutes that will show you the most magical part of Madrid illuminated by the lights while actors tell you the legends that accompany the tour. Here you have the offer tickets.


5. Visit Madrid Río

Madrid Río dresses as a Christmas from December 21st at 7:00 pm, starting with a light parade, from there on there will be concerts, shows… it will even be transformed into a great ballroom on December 30th. In Matadero Madrid there will be a lot of activities, mostly free, that we leave here.





6. Museums for childrens

Whenever you visit a city, you like to see some museums. But doing it with children can complicate things. Do not worry, many of the museums in Madrid are totally adapted to the taste of the youngest of the house. The Prado Museum has an itinerary for children, with a children’s audio guide available on its official website. The Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum has an initiative for children called EducaThyssen and a large number of museums follow them.



Christmas is a good time to take advantage of these initiatives since in these dates there are more events and workshops than in any other.

Happy holidays from Heima Homes!


 

 

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Spanish Traditions, Travel tips

Christmas is a very special celebration in Spain and, as in every country, we also have our own traditions, although we’ve included other popular customs over the years.
Here’s what we do different from other countries:



Christmas Lottery

In Spain we love lottery, and Christmas is the best excuse to buy some, this tradition started the 22nd of December in 1812 and, for many Spanish people, that day of December is when the christmas officially starts. Every 22nd at 9:15 am, families gathers around the television where the national tv channel broadcast this special event.

In Madrid, you can find Doña Manolita (Calle del Carmen, 22) the greatest lottery establishment in Spain. You’ll always find very long lines of people in queue, especially since October, who wants to buy this christmas lottery. Don’t expect this to be a huge building, it’s a very small establishment.  


Christmas Eve

We call the night of the 24th of December “Nochebuena” which means “Good Night” and during this, family and friends always gather to have a very big dinner together that usually begin with some starters, after that two main dishes, dessert and last but not least, some traditional Spanish Christmas sweets like “turrón”, “polvorones”, “mazapanes”, and “mantecados”, most of these made out of almond dough.

After dinner, all the principal tv channels stop what they are broadcasting for the king’s speech.

This night there are some families that decide they want to celebrate Santa Claus as an english influence. Over the years this tradition is more common in Spain.



New year’s eve
We call this night “Nochevieja” which means “Old Night” and, in this case, the most special tradition is to eat 12 grapes, one by one each second during the 12 last before 00:00 of the 1st of January. This tradition is called “Las 12 campanadas” (12 strikes) and it was established in 1909. We like to believe that if we eat all of the grapes, we’ll have good luck in the new year that is starting.



Día de Reyes (Three Kings Day)

Los Reyes Magos (the three kings) are the ones who bring us gifts instead of Santa Claus, and they do it during the night of the 5th of January.

Everybody is very excited for that day, so during the day, every city celebrates the Cabalgata de los Reyes Magos, which is a procession where the three kings: Melchor, Gaspar and Baltasar greet and give sweets to all the children. After that the kids give their favorite king their wishlist letters where they explain how good they’ve been that year and what they’d like as a gift.

That night everyone has to go to sleep early in order to wake up ever earlier and see what the three kings have brought for the family. It’s a special day, so family and friends gather to  celebrate and, as always, that means eating! You can not miss trying El Roscón de Reyes, the famous king cake, similar to a big bagel, which hides surprises inside, and each one of them means something.


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Or how we say it: ¡Feliz Navidad y Próspero Año Nuevo!

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