Well strictly speaking, not a second christmas at all but the very lovely celebration of Epiphany. Known as El día de Reyes, the arrival of the three kings is eagerly anticipated by Spanish children in much the same way as other children may look forward to Father Christmas or Santa.
So while I am still digesting my christmas lunch, a process that may take until the spring, all around me my neighbours ,who ignored 25th December, are getting ready for their big day. The shops are starting to fill as people buy presents. A process that is drawn out by the fact that each gift is wrapped by the sales assistant, and the next customer must wait until this process is completed, right down to the bow on top.
For me with my non spanish roots this has many advantages. I do my christmas shopping for my own family in readiness for christmas day (25th December). This means I do my own shopping in nearly empty shops, and get first choice of the newly arrived stock. The same goes for my grocery shopping……..I actually did this on christmas eve. There were two other shoppers in the supermarket. I shopped for Christmas lunch in peace and calm and even had the time for a long and enjoyable conversation with the girl at the till who is expecting her first child in March. I expect it was very much busier in the US or other European countries.
Epiphany is of course when the three kings arrived to visit the new-born Jesús. I love that this is celebrated here, and it does make christmas feel very much a christian celebration. Spain, especially here in Andalucía, has not commercialised christmas very much at all. Gifts rarely arrive in the shops much before the last two weeks in December. Cards are not normally exchanged and children usually receive a small gift on Kings Day. This will very often be a gift of clothes.
Were I live, children still play in the streets, and big and expensive toys are simply not seen. Out walking a few days ago, I passed a group of little girls who had set out their plastic toy cups and saucers and plates all along the pavement outside their homes. They were busy holding a pretend tea party for each other, and passers-by like me simply smiled and stepped off the pavement so as not to spoil their game…..It´s not a sight too common in many countries now.I fear that it will eventually disappear here in Spain too, but I hope it continues for a long time yet.
So, my second christmas will be here on the 6th January, and the first for my neighbours. My posts may be a little more daily-ish than daily, as my friends and family arrive again…..but no presents this time; that was all taken care of a week ago. We will go to the square on the night of the 5th and watch the procession (Cabalgata) go by, and sweets will be thrown for the children to collect.
I had hoped to start painting again this week after my christmas break, but perhaps that was a little optomistic…..I am going to go will the flow and hunker down for another round of serious partying and eating. Normal service, here at the blog and at the easel will have to wait until the 7th January. Not that I´m complaining. After many years in Spain I have learned that the most important thing of all is to have as many fiestas as possible, make them last as long as possible and have as many friends and relatives around as you can fit into your house.
What a wonderful place this is, and long may we continue to celebrate the epiphany a whole lot more than Santa.
Have a good day everyone,
- Jan. 6: The Feast of Epiphany (examiner.com)