Christmas in Catalonia is a magical time, full of deep-rooted traditions that give a unique charm to this festive season.

In this blog we explain the most notable Christmas traditions of Catalan culture and how they are celebrated here.

The living manger: nativity scene in action

One of the most appreciated traditions is the representation of the living manger. In many towns, squares are transformed into authentic biblical scenes with people and animals recreating the birth of Jesus.

This representation captivates visitors and locals, immersing themselves in the Christmas story with a vivid and special setting. In Calafell, you can find one of these living nativity scenes from December 10 to 18 at the Masía Castelló.

El Tió de Nadal

The Caga Tió is a Christmas character from Catalan culture, characterized by being a wooden trunk with two or four wooden legs, a painted smiling face and a traditional Catalan barretina.

On Christmas Eve the Tió “cats gifts” for the children after singing a song while they hit the trunk with a wooden stick. Therefore, since December 8, when the Immaculate Conception is celebrated, families begin to feed Tió every night and make sure he is warm under a thick blanket.

This is a quirky and much-loved tradition among children that brings laughter and joy to the home at Christmas time.

El Caganer

Another typical Catalan tradition is the presence of “el caganer” in the manger. This figure represents a man defecating, dressed as a Catalan “pastoret”, who is placed in a discreet place in the nativity scene, generally under a tree or behind a rock or bush.

Currently, “the caganer” has become a collector’s item and there are many variants of it, representing famous people, politicians, actors… in the same position as the original figure.

Midnight Mass

The Misa del Gallo is an important religious ceremony on Christmas Eve. The churches are filled with faithful to attend this mass that commemorates the birth of Jesus. After mass, families return home to share a special dinner and open gifts.

Although this is not an exclusive tradition of Catalan culture, it has great importance on these dates, and is known as “La Missa del Gall”.

Traditional Catalan Christmas meals

Christmas cuisine in Catalonia is full of authentic flavors and traditional dishes that are enjoyed during the holidays:

  • Escudella i carn d’olla: this dish is the undisputed star of the Christmas meal. It is a Catalan stew that consists of two parts, the “escudella” which is the soup and the “carn d’olla” which are the meats and vegetables cooked during the preparation of the soup.
  • Canelons: Cannelloni are another classic dish on the Catalan table during the festivities. They are filled with meat left over from the previous day’s cooking, covered with bechamel and baked in the oven. Cannelloni are eaten on December 26, after Christmas, to celebrate Sant Esteve Day, a holiday that is only celebrated in Catalonia.
  • Escudella de Nadal: Escudella de Nadal is a lighter dish than escudella i carn d’olla, which is served with “galets”, a snail-shaped pasta that is filled with minced meat.
  • Christmas sweets: Catalan Christmas tables cannot be missing a good assortment of Polvorones and Nougats of all kinds, to finish family meals with a sweet touch.

In the Akquaaa restaurant you can enjoy these typical Catalan dishes on holidays. Discover all our Christmas menus here.

Christmas markets

Christmas markets, like Santa Llúcia in Barcelona, are a tradition deeply rooted in Catalan culture. The vast majority of cities and towns in Catalonia have at least one Christmas market during this time.

These markets offer artisan products, Christmas decorations, typical sweets and elements for the nativity scene and walking through them is to immerse yourself in the festive atmosphere and enjoy the essence of Catalan Christmas.

In Segur de Calafell, you can also find a beautiful Christmas market near the sea, to enjoy a unique Christmas walk with the family.

Christmas in Catalonia is a mosaic of traditions that unite the religious, the recreational and the cultural to create an incredible festive atmosphere. These unique customs, rooted in the history and identity of the region, make these holidays a truly special time, where the Christmas spirit is celebrated with joy and devotion.

Do not hesitate to contact us and book your accommodation to enjoy a unique and unforgettable Christmas! Akquaaa Boutique Hotel and its facilities on the seafront.

Enter the reservation section of the website and do not miss out on your dream room

Happy Holidays!

Experience it first-hand at Hotel Boutique Akquaaa