Things to do in Barcelona for Christmas
Christmas is special everywhere because each place on earth has its special traditions. Barcelona is not an exception. Shopping and delicious warm meals can wait but these things to do in Barcelona for Christmas I’m about to share with you only happen once a year!
Many Mediterranean countries have lovely alternatives for the Christmas tree. In Barcelona, we have el pessebre, which is a model of the nativity with all kinds of figures. So one of the things to do in Barcelona for Christmas is to visit local pessebres or to make one of your own!
The most iconic one is the one the city council places at Plaça Sant Jaume, located in the Gothic neighbourhood of the city. Obviously it’s bigger than the average one you can see in many Spanish homes, but for Barcelonians, Christmas wouldn’t be the same without it.
Not far away from Plaça Sant Jaume, in front of the Cathedral, there’s the Fira de Santa Llúcia where you can buy everything you need to build your own pessebre, from moss to figures to amazing decoration. Kids would love something from there as a souvenir. It starts on the 30th of November.
The Poo Log
People always get surprised about this but Christmas in Barcelona and Catalonia can get very scatological. Brace yourself and have fun, because this was the tradition I enjoyed the most as a child. One of the things to do in Barcelona for Christmas is to… cagar el tió, translated to “to shit the log” in English.
Let me explain. Every home owns a Tió or el Tronc that has the facility of giving (by expulsing through the back door) your presents and sweet things if you kick it strong enough with a stick on Christmas eve. During this ritual you must sing a certain song and the tradition says you’ve got to feed it during the previous days so it can “poo” better presents. Some foreigners see this as a tradition that teaches children to be violent, while we see a lesson for the difficult situations we may encounter in life… And the funniest way possible to get presents!
The Tió is not the only scatological tradition we have for Christmas. Among the many things to do in Barcelona for Christmas, there’s the purchase of a caganer, which can be translated to “a poo man”, which I’m sure is one of our most surprising and funny souvenirs.
You can easily get one at Fira de Santa Llúcia, because in every pessebre there must be a caganer. The legend says that this man was a shepherd that went to adore Jesus at Bethlehem but… had a little urgency on the road.
For us, it is a way to keep Christmas fun and the idea has grown until the point that caganers are for Catalans what The Simpsons are for pop culture… People are not famous, if they don’t appear as one! In Barcelona, we’ve probably built a caganer of the president or prime minister of your own country… For instance, check the picture above: there’s Doraemon, the Smurfs, Homer Simpson, Rafael Nadal, Fernando Alonso, the Barça players…
The Three Wise Men Parade
OK, I had clear instructions of ending this with a “normal” Christmas idea. Because we are also serious people and we are able to offer you “regular” things to do in Barcelona for Christmas. The Cavalcada de Reis is one of them.
On the night of the 5th of January, the Three Wise Men come to town to bring presents to children. Santa Claus also delivers presents during Christmas, but the night from the 5th to the 6th is for the Three Wise Men.
To celebrate it, they do an awesome parade from the shore, they usually arrive by ship. Then, they walk through the streets of the city. The assistants of the Three Wise Men, which are patges, throw sweets and do amazing shows during all the route. This probably is the absolute must for spending Christmas in Barcelona!
As you see, there are lots of things to do in Barcelonafor Christmas. If you visit us, you’ll be amazed because the city will offer you a really different face: more traditions, fun stories and well, yes, obviously, a shopping paradise. I hope you’ve enjoyed this article and to see you soon in one of our tours! If you need further information about anythings, don’t hesitate to contact us!