Barcelona Christmas 2018 - Things to do at Christmas

Barcelona Christmas guide

Barcelona Christmas 2018

What's on for Barcelona Christmas tourists. Things to do at Christmas season in Barcelona, Spain. Barcelona has many things to do at Christmas including Christmas fairs, Christmas markets, concerts, nativitiy scenes, a circus and theme parks among the many festive things to do for families and children.

This page will be updated in December 2018
Barcelona is also a perfect city for Christmas shopping. Read more about Barcelona Christmas events and traditions and you might also be interested in what to wear in December in Barcelona and Christmas weather Barcelona.

In the Catalan language we say 'Merry Christmas and Happy New Year' like this: 'Bon Nadal i Feliç Any Nou' And in Spanish language (Castellano) we say 'Feliz Navidad y Próspero Año Nuevo'. 

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Welcome to our complete Guide to Barcelona Christmas. On this page we you can find dates, times, maps and tips about the most popular Christmas traditions, Christmas markets and New Year traditions and events in Barcelona. The Spanish and Catalan people celebrate Barcelona Christmas with their own special traditions and customs, which end on 6th January, which is Three Kings Day (Epiphany).

In Barcelona and Spain we celebrate Christmas Day on 25th December (El dia de Nadal / El día de Navidad) with a Christmas lunch, but the biggest Christmas celebrations are on 5th and 6th of January, when the Three Kings (Tres Reis Mags) bring presents for the children.

Guide to Barcelona Christmas traditions.
Scroll down page to read about Christmas in Barcelona

❄  Christmas lights & trees
❄ Christmas weather Barcelona
❄  Christmas markets Barcelona
❄ Christmas food
❄  La Misa Del Gallo - Midnight Mass
❄  The Reyes Magos Parade Barcelona
❄  El Pessebre / belén - crib nativity scene 
❄  El Caganer - the 'Christmas crapper'
❄  Tió de Nadal - The Christmas log
❄  L’Home dels Nassos – The Noses Man
❄  Barcelona New Year traditions
❄  Metro timetable Christmas & New Year
❄  Sports events Christmas

Christmas concerts & family events

Poble Espanyol has a Santa Claus Christmas event at Poble Espanyol Spanish Village on Montjuic hill from 6th to 10th December 2017.  Barcelona's central square Plaça de Catalunya hosts a Christmas festival from 22nd December to 4th January. There is a Santa Claus Christmas parade around the streets of the Sants neighbourhood which starts at 6 pm on Sunday 17th December from street Av. Madrid along street Carrer de Sants as far as street Carrer de Moianès.

Barcelona has many classical, gospel and ballet Christmas concerts in December including wonderful performances of Handel's Messiah at the Basílica de Santa María del Mar church. For other Barcelona Christmas concerts visit the programme of concerts at concert halls Palau de la Musica and the Liceu Opera House and Ticketmaster concerts in Barcelona in December 2017 

On Christmas Eve you can attend midnight mass at the majestic gothic basilica Santa Maria del Mar where just before midnight you can hear singing of 'El cant de la Sibil·la.' There is a Festival de la Infància at the Fira Montjuïc exhibition area near Plaza Espanya from 27th to 30th December 2017. This is an indoor annual festival and exhibition featuring many activities for children and families.

Circ Raluy. The Circ Raluy is a festive Barcelona Christmas tradition at the Port Vell marina in Barcelona. This iconic circus brings a new show to town every year from mid-December. Circ Raluy is both a historic travelling circus and travelling museum of old circus caravans. Circ Raluy is in the usual place at the north end of Moll de la Fusta  (wood wharf) at the Barcelona marina Port Vell.

Port Aventura theme park. Portaventura is a very big theme adventura park located 1 hour south of Barcelona.  Port Aventura becomes a Christmas wonderland from mid November to 8th January and is a festive experience for children during a Christmas visit to Barcelona. Port Aventura has resort hotels with traditional decorations and a full programme of Christmas packages, activities and shows including an ice show, Christmas festival and Christmas Parade, special Christmas menus and exclusive shows and the new theme park Ferrari Land which has a spectacular 8-meter Christmas tree. You can visit both parks on 1 day bus trip from Barcelona

Visit our Barcelona events calendar to find our top picks for Christmas concerts and events. There are many activities in Barcelona for children in the days between Christmas and New Year. 


Christmas lights & trees

The Barcelona Christmas lights are called 'Els llums de Nadal.' Christmas starts in Barcelona when the Christmas lights are turned on every year. Barcelona's Christmas lights are switched on at the end of November (24th November in 2017) and stay on until 6th January. There are Christmas lights at almost 400 locations and streets to cover a total distance of 100km.

The fabulous Montjuic Magic Fountain is also part of the Barcelona Christmas lights with a special free Christmas water and music show in December between 19:00 and 21:00 on Fridays and Saturdays in December and early January. Remember to dress warmly!

There is a big Christmas tree in Barcelona on Portal del Ángel street near Plaça Catalunya and a big tree on Plaça de Sant Jaume in the gothic area. Plaça de Sant Jaume also hosts the official Christmas nativity scene and has a tree.

Christmas weather Barcelona

What's the weather like at Christmas in Barcelona? What should you wear in Barcelona in December? Check out our guide to what to wear in December in Barcelona. It's usually chilly in the evening but can be warm and pleasant during the day. Generally the mid-day temperatures in December are around 13 - 16 degrees Celsius and drop to between 5 - 10 degrees Celcius in the evening, so pack a sweater, scarf and winter jacket for the evenings.

Generally we would describe the Barcelona December weather as chilly, crisp and clear so perfect for Christmas shopping. Does it ever snow in Barcelona? Extremely rarely. Barcelona does get a sprinkling of snow once a year, as you can see on these photos of Barcelona snow, but your chances of snow or a White Christmas in Barcelona at Christmas are very slim. If you want to see snow, why not book a tour to Andorra in the Pyrenees mountains near Barcelona. The skiing resorts near Barcelona opens around 2 December 2017


Christmas shopping Barcelona

Barcelona is one of the top European cities for shopping and Barcelona's Christmas shopping kicks off with Black Friday on Friday 24th November and a Christmas Barcelona Shopping Night on Thursday 30th November on top shopping street Passeig de Gracia with opening times until midnight. Barcelona has extra Christmas Sunday shopping days in December and other public holiday. Shops can choose themselves if they want to be open on public holidays and Sundays in December. Many Barcelona city center shops and shopping malls in Barcelona will be open on the public holidays of 6th December and 8th December and many big stores will be open on all Sundays in December as part of the Barcelona Christmas shopping season.

Shopping on 24th, 25th and 26th December

Some shops will be open all day on 24th December and some only half of the day on 24th December. Barcelona shops are generally all closed on public holidays however which means shops are closed in Barcelona on Christmas Day 25th December and Boxing day 26th December. There are two Barcelona outlet malls outside the city which are both open during Christmas on certains days. See our guide to Barcelona shopping areas and streets.


Christmas markets


Barcelona's old city has many craft fairs during December and of course many Christmas markets. The oldest, biggest and most traditional of the Barcelona Christmas markets is La Fira de Santa Llúcia - in Spanish 'Feria de Santa Lucia' in the gothic area on the Avenida de la Catedral in front of Barcelona Cathedral in the gothic area of Barcelona.

The earliest recorded Christmas market here was in 1786, making 2017 the 231st edition. The Avenida de la Catedral and the small streets by the cathedral have almost 300 market stalls selling Christmas decorations and gifts. Most stalls sell 'figuritas de Belén' which are the little figures that you can buy to make your own crib scenes called 'pessebres'.


Fira de Santa Llúcia Christmas market
Saint Lucia Christmas market
Event Dates:
Fri 24th November to Sat 23rd December 2017
Opening times: open daily from 10.30 to 22.30.
Place: Avenida de la Catedral in gothic area
The Fira de Santa Llúcia is Barcelona's biggest Christmas market and located in front of Barcelona's cathedral in the Gothic quarter. Special days include Saturday 16/12 festival Diada de les tradicions nadalencs which has extra Christmas activities for children including the 'Christmas face' - 'Carassa de Nadal de Barcelona' and a Christmas concert. From end November there are special 'Tió gegant' activities for the children. Wed 13th 2017 in Advent is 'Dia de Santa Llúcia' - Saint Lucy.


Fira de Nadal a la Sagrada Família
Event date: 25th November to 23rd December 2017 
Event times. daily from 10:00 to 22:00
Event location: Sagrada Familia church in Eixample area of Barcelona
Fira de Nadal a la Sagrada Família. Christmas market at Sagrada Familia church. Traditional Christmas market with 120 stalls at La Sagrada Familia church in Eixample area of Barcelona. On two Saturdays from 18 to 20.00 Santa Claus pays a visit to collect letters from the children and hand out balloons and cookies.

Three Kings Fair
Fira de Reis a la Gran Via 
Event date: 19th December to 6th January 2018
Event times: from 11.00 to 22.00
Event location: On Gran Via street from streets Muntaner to Calabria
La feria de Reyes de la Gran Via, also called 'Sant Tomàs i Reis' (St Thomas and Kings) and also sometimes called the Twelfth Night Fair, is one of Barcelona´s biggest Christmas and New Year markets for toys. The Fira de Reis a la Gran Via market has around 300 markets stalls with toys and traditional 'Reyes' gifts like 'carbon de azucar' (candy coal).

Plaça de Catalunya Christmas fair
 Plaza Catalunya
Dates: 22nd December to 4th January 2018
Times: 10:00 to 21:00
Plaça de Catalunya Christmas fair. Responsible Consumption Fair. Christmas fair on central Plaça de Catalunya with many activities for families and children. Sustainable and fair trade Christmas festival promoted and organised by the Barcelona city council. The '3a Fira de Consum Responsable, d’Economia Social i Solidària' offers sustainable and handmade gifts, services and activities by sixty companies and entities to promote responsible consumption and local products.

Fira de Nadal de Sants
Place: Carrer Joan Güell - Plaça de Sants Map link
Dates: End November to 23rd December
Fira d'artesania a la plaça de Sants - Sants Christmas market

La Ciutat dels Somnis - Festival de la Infància
Place: Fira Montjuic exhibition centre - Halls 1, 2 and 3 
Dates: 27th to 30th December 2017
Barcelona Children's Festival formerly known as the Festival de la Infancia rebrands in 2017 as 'La Ciutat dels Somnis' - City of Dreams. Festival for children from 4 to 12 to enjoy more than a hundred educational activities in Spanish and Catalan.


Mercat de Nadal de Pedralbes
Place: Plaça Monestir de Pedralbes, Pedralbes area of Barcelona
Dates: Sunday 3rd November 2017
Times: 10:00 to 18:00
Lovely 1 day Christmas market at Pedralbes monastery where you can also enjoy guided visits of the monastery and enjoy Christmas carol singing.

There are also lovely Christmas markets and fairs in towns and village near Barcelona and we can recommend the Fira de Nadal Caldes de Montbui on 2nd and 3rd December 2017

Barcelona Christmas food

Food Traditions. What do they eat at Christmas in Barcelona Spain? A typical Christmas dish is 'Escudella i carn d'olla'. This is a tasty bowl (escudella means bowl) of pasta shells 'galets' in a meat and vegetable stew or soup. Another typical Catalan Christmas dish is the delicious 'carn d'olla'  which is a meat dish of stuffed capon or turkey. A typical Christmas dessert in Spain and Barceona is 'turrón,' which is on sale at Christmas markets and supermarkets everywhere in Barcelona.

Traditional turrón is nougat made with almonds, hazelnuts and honey. Turrón now comes is many delicious varieties. 

Christmas bread in Catalonia is called 'El Pa de Nadal' and is sold all over Barcelona at bakeries and supermarkets. 

Not all Barcelona restaurants are open at Christmas. Generally the bigger restaurants and hotel restaurants are open for Christmas, but to avoid disapointment we recommend that you make a reservation. 

About Escudella
Recipe for escudella i carn d'olla
Catalan restaurants in Barcelona
Things to do Barcelona Christmas


Most shops are closed both on both 25th and 26th December in Barcelona. For grocery shopping the 'OpenCor' convenience stores have a selection of basic food items and are open on 26th December. Many small local convenience shops are open too like OpenCor stores

'La Misa Del Gallo' Midnight Mass - Christmas Eve 

Midnight Mass is celebrated on Christmas Eve in Barcelona. The chiming of church bells summons families to the mass which is called 'La Misa Del Gallo' - The Rooster Mass. This names derives from the belief that only time that a rooster crowed at midnight was on Christmas Eve when Jesus was born. The Midnight Mass is a charming service. You can attend midnight mass on Christmas eve at many churches in Barcelona. One of the nicest basilicas is the gothic Santa Maria del Mar church where you can hear the 5 minute 'El cant de la Sibil·la' just before midnight.

Another lovely Christmas Eve mass is 40 km northwest of Barcelona on Montserrat mountain at the Basílica de Montserrat at the Benedictine monastery perched on the steep cliffs of the Montserrat mountain range. At the Montserrat Christmas midnight mass you can hear the angelic voices of Europe's oldest boys' choir called L’Escolania de Montserrat.


Three Kings Parade Barcelona 5th January

Three Kings procession Barcelona

The most important Christmas days in Spain are the 5th and 6th January. The 6th January is the day when the Three Kings of the Orient bring gifts for the children. In Catalan they are called 'Els Tres Reis Mags d'Orient' Melchor, Gaspar y Baltasar - and in Spanish 'Los Reyes Magos' Balthasar, Caspar and Melchior. The 5th January is called the Night of the Three Kings, the 'Cavalcada de Reis' in Catalan or 'Cabalgata los Reyes Magos' in Spanish. It's also called The Three Kings’ Parade or the 'Twelfth Night procession.' The 6th January is the day in Spain when children get Christmas presents. You do see Santa Claus in Barcelona malls but the Three Kings of the Orient are the main characters in Spanish Christmas celebrations in Barcelona and Spain. Spanish and Catalan children send letters to the Three Kings, not to Santa Claus.

Three Kings Barcelona parade Friday 5th January 2018. Kings parade route and map. The Three Kings parade on 5th January is Barcelona's Christmas parade on the eve of the 12th day of Christmas. The 12th day is also called Epiphany which is on January 6th - twelve days after Christmas. Ephiphany is the end of the Christmas festive season in Spain and Barcelona where Christmas is celebrated for the 12 days from Christmas Eve on December 24th, until the Epiphany on 6th January.

The 'Three Kings’ Parade' is also known as the 'Twelfth Night procession and in the Spanish language it is called 'la Cabalgata de Reyes Magos' and in Catalan language it is called 'la Cavalcada de Reis Mags d'Orient'. Pictures Barcelona Three Kings parade.

2018 Barcelona 3 Kings route map

See realtime location of Barcelona 3 Kings parade location when it starts

Open FULLSCREEN map Three Kings parade

16:00 Friday 5th January 2018
Arrival Three Kings at Barcelona port at Moll de la Fusta dock at Port Vell marina MAP LINK. Three Kings Barcelona, called Reyes Magos, arrive onboard the Barcelona maritime museum's schooner (called a 'pailebot') named 'Santa Eulàlia.' The Barcelona Major welcomes the Three Kings with bread and salt as a symbol of welcome and gives them the key that opens all the Barcelona city doors, so that the kings can deliver all the Christmas gifts during the night of 5th January.

After the greeting festivities the Three Kings leave this location by car and go to the start of the main Kings parade 'Cavalcada de Reis'  which starts at the Parc de la Ciutatdella at the park entrance on the street Av. Marques de l'Argentera in the Ribera/Born area of Barcelona.

Approximate route times of 5km parade route
Pla de Palau (18:10), Via Laietana (18:25), la plaza Urquinaona (19:00), Plaza Catalunya (19:10), Plaza Universitat (19:25), Ronda Sant Antoni (19:35), Sepúlveda (19.45), Avenida Paral·lel (20:25), la plaza Espanya (20:35) and finished at avenidas Reina Maria Cristina y Francesc Ferrer i Guàrdia,between 20:45 y 21:00.

18:00 Friday 5th January 2018
Start of Kings parade 'Cavalcada de Reis'
On Av. Marquès de l’Argentera at entrance to Parc de la Ciutatdella

20:45 Friday 5th January 2018
Av. Reina Maria Cristina by Magic Fountain near Plaça Espanya
Finish of Kings parade 
The Kings parade finishes on Av. Reina Maria Cristina where the Magic Fountain music and light show will be part of the parade finale. MAP LINK

About Three Kings - Reyes traditions 

The Three Kings of the Orient, are called Balthasar, Gaspar and Melchior in Spanish and in Catalan they are called Melchor, Gaspar and Baltasar. The Twelfth Night, also called Ephiphany, celebrates the visit to the baby Jesus in Bethlehem by the Three Kings, (also called the Magi, or the Three Wise Men) and is a Christian celebration that dates back to the 4th century. 

The word 'Epiphany' comes from Greek and means 'manifestation'. The Epiphany, or Twelfth night, signifies the manifestation of Christ to humans who were represented in the form of the Three Kings. According to the Gospel of Matthew, the three kings followed a star across the desert which led them to the baby Jesus. According to the gospel of Matthew they gave Jesus symbolic gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. The gold represented his royal standing; frankincense his divine birth; and myrrh his mortality. On their return journey they handed out gifts to children. 

In Spain children write to the Three Kings, rather than Santa Claus. The Kings bring the children their presents on 6th January. The Kings' Day Parade is the biggest parade and procession in Barcelona and takes place on 5th January every year on the evening before Twelfth Night on the 6th January. 

Children can deliver their gift wish lists to the Kings by post or by handing them to one of the eighty Kings' pages and messengers in the parade, the most famous of which are called Page Estel and Page Gregori. The Kings pages are also all over the city in the Christmas period. In Barcelona can find them on Plaza Catalunya, at the Barcelona City Hall, at the Three Kings' postbox in the courtyard of the Palau de la Virreina, on ‘Santa Eulàlia’ schooner at Moll de la Fusta dock in Port Vell marina and at many shopping malls. 

Children are also welcome to visit the Kings of Orients’ toy factory and warehouse at the Fàbrica de Creació Fabra i Coats (from 28 December 2017 - 4th January 2018) in the Sant Andreu district of Barcelona. The Fabra i Coats factory opens its doors for Christmas, so that visitors can see the toy warehouse where toys are made and stored before being delivered by the Three Kings on the night of 5th January. 

After the Kings' parade on the 5th January the next day 6th January is a public holiday in Spain. The 6th is the biggest Christmas gift giving day in Barcelona and Spain and the day that the children open their presents. 

On 6th January the family enjoy a sweetbread Kings cake called 'Tortell de Reis' in Catalan language and in Spanish language called 'Roscón de Reyes' which means the Kings' ring. Inside the roscon cake bakers hide a tiny toy or trinket and a fava bean. The person who finds the toy is King or Queen of the feast and the person who gets the fava bean has to buy the Tortell de Reis cake the following year.

About Barcelona Kings Parade
There are around 18 local Christmas Kings parades in different districts of Barcelona on 5th January and you can find them all on this map from the Barcelona Christmas website. An estimated 500,000 people go to see the biggest parade in Barcelona - the 'Cabalgata de Reyes Magos'. This is a three hour parade with a convoy of around 12 parade floats - called carrozas - which stretches almost one kilometre in total along a 5km route through the center of Barcelona also passing by Plaza Catalunya. 

The Barcelona kings parade is a spectacular show designed and performed by professional artists from the world of theatre, music, dance and circus with volunteers, which are mostly students from 29 different arts schools in Barcelona but also just volunteers from local families. Leading the parade are 'Els llancers de la Guàrdia Reial' The Royal Guard Lancers on horseback. In total there are about 1300 costumed participants, 12 big floats and around 26 dance retinues called comparsas. Each float has a theme and the themes change every year.

Around 7 tons of gluten free caramels are thrown from the floats during the parade. Small children can give the Kings pages their Christmas letters and also hand in their pacifiers or dummies - called xumets in Catalan - to the Kings' Xumeters - the dummie collectors.
Don't forgot to buy a Kings Cake - a sweet dessert bread called 'Tortells de Reis' in Catalan - 'Roscón de Reyes' in Spanish, which is eaten the night before or on King's Day. You can get them at all bakeries and supermarkets in Barcelona. 

¡Felices Reyes! Bones Festes!

Pictures Three Kings parade


El Pessebre de Nadal - Spanish nativity scenes

Christmas crib scene Barcelona

The pessebre is the Catalan name for the Christmas nativity scene. A Spanish and Catalan Christmas would not be complete without a nativity scene with palm trees, shepherds, three kings, Mary, Joseph and the infant Jesus. And of course the cheeky Caganer figure. The nativity scene in Catalonia is called 'El Pessebre de Nadal.' The word Pessebre means 'stable' and El Pessebre de Nadal refers to the manger, or the crib, where Christ was born. It is called 'El Belén de Navidad' in Spanish or 'Belén de Judá' meaning 'Judean stable.' 

The three most typical pessebre scenes are the birth of Christ in a manger, the Archangel Gabriel appearing to the shepherds or the star guiding the Three Kings to Bethlehem. Traditionally the pessebre is assembled on St Catherines day on 25th November and taken down on 2nd February, which is the feast of Candlemas, which marks the midpoint of winter, halfway between the shortest day, the winter solstice, and the longest day, the spring equinox.


Crib scene displays can be found many places in Barcelona on plazas, in churches and in most Catalan homes, both in miniature form and also living nativity plays called 'pessebre vivents.' The official Barcelona outdoor nativity scene pessebre is the Pessebre a la Plaça Sant Jaume in the Gothic quarter of Barcelona. It is open from end November to 6th January from 10:00 to 22:00 daily. This year’s Plaça Sant Jaume nativity scene has a modern interpretation by Jordi Darder.

Plaça Sant Jaume Pessebre Belen Barcelona 2016

You can see live nativity scenes at the Poble Espanyol Spanish Village on Montjuic hill in Barcelona during the Christmas season. At the weekend in December the squares, streets and alleys of the Spanish Village become a lovely Christmas scene. And you can see the nativity scene all year on the famous nativity facade of the unfinished Sagrada Familia basilica church by Antoni Gaudi.

Christmas Sagrada Familia


Where to see Barcelona Christmas Pessebres?

Open-air pessebre Plaça de Sant Jaume end November to 6th January 
During December live nativity scenes at Poble Espanyol 
Cathedral La Seu cloister - entrance from Carrer del Bisbe
Mid-December to mid-January at Basílica de Santa Maria del Mar 
Mostra de Pessebres de la Parròquia de Betlem church La Rambla 107 
All December and early January at Casa de la Pia Almoina Av. Catedral 4
Sagrat Cor de Jesús del Tibidabo church on Tibidabo hill all December 
Museu Monestir de Pedralbes Pedralbes monastery all December

'El Caganer' The Christmas crapper

Among the figures in a Catalan Christmas 'pessebre' nativity scene, you will find a funny little fellow, called 'El Caganer,' which is a unique and quite strange Catalan Christmas tradition, which is said to bring good luck.


'El Caganer' is the cheeky figure of Catalan navitivy scenes. 'El Caganer' literally means the 'crapper' or 'shitter' or the 'pooper'. So he is often called the Christmas crapper in English! The Caganer is a an elf or gnome-like figure wearing the traditional Catalan red beret 'barretina' who drops his trousers, bares his backside, and defecates to 'fertilize' the soil! Very checky guy! He or she can usually be found somewhere in the nativity scene if you take a closer look.

The origins of 'el Caganer' are a bit murky, but apparently the Jule Pooper has been dropping his britches since the middle of the 19th century at least. He is a very popular fellow in Catalunya and thought to bring good luck.

'El Caganer' can be seen in in many forms and in recent times many famous and  public figures, including world leaders and pop stars, have the honour of being portrayed as a Christmas Caganer with their pants down at Christmas. 

Donald Trump caganer figure Spain

Among the new caganer figures in 2017 are local politicians, the new Barcelona soccer trainer Valverde and new Barca players. The 'independentista' separatist caganer holding the independence flag is as popular as ever. The caganer figurines are all handmade and cost from €5 to €20 per figurine depending on size. Visit to see the new 2017 Caganer figures. Or see all the new caganer figures at their stall at the Santa Lucia Christmas market at Barcelona Cathedral. Read more about the Caganer Christmas figure.


Virgin Montserrat Caganer

There was a suggestion by the city council in 2005 to leave the 'caganer' out of the Plaça Sant Jaume official pessebre nativity scene. It was felt that the caganer was politically incorrect, especially when Barcelona is trying to encourage nightlife revellers not to use the streets as public toilets. But there were many protests against a proposed caganer ban and the idea was dropped. So the caganer can usually still be seen in the pessebre on Sant Jaume. See if you can spot him.


Tió de Nadal - Caga Tió - Christmas log

Caga Tio - Tio de Nadal - Christmas pooping log 

More pooing for Christmas in Barcelona. Another odd fecal Christmas tradition in Catalonia is the 'Tió de Nadal' also called the 'Caga tió'. In this context the word 'Tió' is a Catalan word which means 'log.' In Spanish 'Tio' means 'uncle' or 'fellow'. So 'Tió de Nadal' means 'Christmas log or trunk', not 'Christmas uncle' or 'Christmas guy.' And Caga Tió means 'shit log!' :-) The 'Tió de Nadal' Christmas log is a hollow log or tree stump standing on stick legs with a very happy face painted on one end. It wears the typical Catalan barretina red hat.

You can buy Tió de Nadal logs in all sizes at Catalan Christmas markets and you can often see a big Tió de Nadal at children's Christmas events. The Christmas log is also called 'Caga tió' which means 'Poo log!'  
What is the Cata Tio tradition and why is it called Poo log? It works like this. The Christmas log is 'fed,' pampered and looked after by children from the 8th December ( the day of Immaculate Conception called 'Dia de la Immaculada Concepció,') and until Christmas Eve 24th December. The Caga Tió even gets a blanket to keep it warm at night. 


On Christmas Eve you put the Caga Tio almost in the fireplace. The children sing the 'Caga Tió' song to get the log to 'poo' some presents. While they are singing they hit the log with a stick. When the song is finished with a final load cry of 'Caga Tió!' ( = the imperative tense of the the verb 'to defacate,' so it means 'Shit log!') The children then leave the room to pray for presents giving the parents the opportunity to put some presents in the hollow log or under the blanket.

Then when the children come back they can get a present, which the log has pooed! Generally the present is candy and turron nougat and maybe one gift, as the main bulk of Christmas gifts for children in Spain are delivered on 6th January by the Three Kings. When the log has nothing left to 'shit', it finishes the deed with a salt herring, a head of garlic, an onion, or it 'urinates' by leaving a bowl of water. The Caga tió are generally regarding as communal gifts to be shared by everyone. After the log has finished crapping presents, if you have a fireplace, you can burn the 'Tió' log after or just keep it for next year..
The Caga Tió traditions is a tradition with origins that go back centures to times when the fire was a central and important part of family life. The ashes of the burnt log were kept and spread by crops and near the stable and even on the beds as a rite to promote fertility.

'L’Home dels Nassos' – Noses Man

New Year's traditions in Barcelona. 'L’Home dels Nassos' is a fun Catalan tradition. On New Year’s Eve 31st December, also called the day of San Silvestre or Saint Sylvester,  the 'L’Home dels Nassos' roams the streets handing out candy to the children. The Nose man has as many noses on his face as there are days left in the year. Many children mistakenly expect to see a man with 365 many noses on his face - one for each day of the year. But of course on the last day of the year, he only has one nose. IN 2016 children can the Nose man at 12.45 on Plaça Catalunya. San Silvestre is also the name of a popular 10 km San Silvestre run in Barcelona on the last day of the year in Barcelona - and also on 31/12 at noon there is a children's party on Passeig de Gracia called Festa infantil de l'home dels nassos.
Read about Nassos - Noses man (in Catalan)  
Ice skating rinks Christmas
There are 2 permanent indoor Barcelona ice skating rinks, one in the Eixample area and another at FC Barcelona stadium Camp Nou.   There is a temporary 400 m2 Christmas ice skating rink (pista de gel) in the shopping mall Pedralbes Centre in the upper part of Barcelona. See opening times of Pedralbes ice rink here. The Christmas ice rink on Plaza Catalunya was closed from 2015 and the Plaza Catalunya rink moved to La Farga centre in suburb L'Hospitalet de Llobregat close to Barcelona.

El Gordo Christmas lottery

The Spanish Christmas lottery El Gordo is the biggest lottery in the world and is drawn on 22nd December every Christmas. 

New Years' Eve in Barcelona
New Years Eve Parties and traditions

New Years Eve is celebrated in Spain with food and parties. Barcelona has an official New Years Eve event in 2017 at 11.30pm at the Magic Fountain. It is called 'Las Campanadas de Fin de Año Barcelona' - the Barcelona New Year Chimes celebration. This New Years display will be at the Magic Fountain near Plaza Espanya and will last 45 minutes from 11:30 until 0:15. The celebration will consist of a main stage with two big screens for the countdown and then a firework display at midnight.  

The event usually has human tower building, concerts, music, fireworks and the Magic fountain light and water display. This is a free public family event. Get there 30 - 60 minutes early for a place close to the fountain and fireworks. There is only standing room. You can see the fireworks from the whole avenue. 
There are many New Year Parties in Barcelona and we list some of the biggest clubs and parties on our events page about Barcelona New Year parties with some of the best parties at top clubs as we get closer to the 31st December Most people choose to celebrate at bars, clubs and restaurants in Barcelona. All the top clubs and many hotels have New Year Parties. Visit our Barcelona nightlife page to find parties. and many people at parties or at home turn on the live transmission from Madrid's central square, Puerta del Sol at midnight to see the 12 chimes that take Spain into a New Year.  Fireworks generally do not play a major part in private New Year celebrations in Barcelona.
What happens in Spain when the bell chimes for New Year?  In Spain and Catalunya at midnight everyone eats twelve lucky grapes, one grape at each strike of the bell counting down to the new year. Then you toast the new year with Cava. According to an excellent book about oddities in Spain by Valerie Collins and Theresa O’Shea called In the Garlic this tradition is explained as follows: 
"As for the grapes, you might imagine that the custom of eating twelve lucky uvas at midnight on December 31 dates back to ancient times. In fact, it was dreamed up by Valencian grape-growers in 1909 as a way of getting rid of an extra-bumper crop. One grape after each chime of the clock to give thanks for the past year's good luck and in anticipation of the lucky year to come. A hundred years is a short time when it comes to gene development, but it seems the Spanish have already honed the how-to-eat-12-grapes-in-12-seconds-without-choking gene. Actually, they cheat. The Puerta del Sol clock in Madrid , which everybody watches on TV, is slowed down to a more digestible one strike every three seconds."

Sports events at Christmas Barcelona

New Years Day Swim Barcelona

Buff Epic 10k Obstacle Race December
Christmas day harbour swim - 25th December
New Years Day swim 1st January


Restaurants open during Christmas and New Year. We have listed some NY events on our New Years Barcelona event page, but please note that many restaurants in Barcelona are opening during the Christmas holidays especially in hotels and in the centre of town, but we advise you to check the daily papers and contact the estaurants directly for reservations. 
Public Transport Christmas Barcelona

Barcelona Metro times at Christmas. 

24/12 Metro on Christmas Eve closes at 23:00. 
25/12 Metro opens at 05:00 and closes at 02:00 on Sunday morning. 
26/12 Boxing Day Sant Esteve. Metro open from 05:00 to midnight
31/12 New Year's Eve. Metro open all night on New Years Eve.

Christmas timetables Barcelona public transport
Night buses Barcelona

We wish you all a Barcelona Happy Christmas!

Bon Nadal i Feliç any Nou!

Pictures Barcelona Christmas 
Catalan and Spanish Christmas names
Barcelona City Christmas website
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Last Updated on Saturday, 06 January 2018 13:41