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Valencian holiday traditions

22 Dec 2023
by Martine

Valencia is renowned for its lively celebrations, especially during this season! Enjoy the holiday spirit as Valencia transforms into a festive wonderland with enchanting decorations and twinkling lights, spreading joy to both locals and tourists. Explore the city's cherished Christmas traditions, highlighted below. 

24 & 25 December - Christmas Eve & Christmas Day

As families gather for Christmas Eve dinner, the menu boasts a spread fit for royalty-lamb, bream, seafood, and a battalion of polvorones and turrones (you can find them in Mercat Central or in special stores). Wash it all down with wine and the obligatory glass of cava for good luck. The Midnight Mass, or "Misa del Gallo," in the Cathedral is a celestial symphony, featuring the Cathedral Choir and a cockerel-approved soundtrack. And let’s not forget the "Estrena," where kids receive small gifts or cash from the family: a true Christmas morning jackpot!

28 December - Holy Innocents' Day - Pranks, Jokes, and Paper Doll Shenanigans

Holy Innocents' Day is Valencia's April Fools' Day. From paper doll ambushes to media mischief, it's a day of jokes and laughs. Watch out for that strategically placed paper friend!

31 December - New Year’s Eve - Grape Expectations and Cotillion Celebrations 

As the clock strikes midnight on New Year's Eve in Valencia, locals pop 12 grapes: one for each chime. It's a lively tradition where each grape symbolizes good luck for the upcoming months. Join the grape-powered countdown for a sweet start to the year!
Our secret tip: buy small grapes instead of the big ones!

1 Dec - 6 Jan - Nativity Scenes - Where Oxen and Mules Steal the Spotlight 

Valencia's Nativity Scenes are as legendary as the tale of Saint Francis and his manger antics. The tradition, imported by Spain's own King Charles III, isn't just confined to homes. The Plaza del Ayuntamiento hosts a monumental Nativity Scene, giving the wise men a run for their gold. Museums, churches, and even shopping centers join the nativity party, making it a true Valencian spectacle.

5 January - Royal Romp, The Three Kings 

Fast forward to January 5th, where children eagerly await the Three Kings' grand entrance in the Port of Valencia. After a royal parade and balcony spectacle at Plaza del Ayuntamiento, kids get the chance to spill their Christmas wishes to their regal visitors. It's the night of anticipation, followed by a morning of present pandemonium.

6 January - Roscón de Reyes - The Cake Fit for Kings 

Wrapping up the holiday season is the Roscón de Reyes—a ring-shaped cake adorned with candied fruits and a surprise inside. Find the figurine, and you're crowned the house monarch. But beware the hidden bean—it comes with a promise to buy next year's cake. Who said royalty didn't have its challenges?

In Valencia, the holidays are more than celebrations; they're a riotous blend of tradition, laughter, and a touch of magic. So, pack your sense of humor and get ready to dive into the spirited festivities of this vibrant Spanish city! ¡Felices fiestas!

With Love,

Home by Auk

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