Our EVS volunteers, Kate and Andrea, experienced Christmas time in different locations: Leitrim and Vigo (Spain).
Christmas holiday in Leitrim
Christmas is over but this magic time full of lights, Christmas trees, decorations, gifts is still in our memory.
What does Christmas look like in rural Leitrim? Kate spent Christmas with a Ballinaglera family and experienced a traditional irish festival.
Christmas Eve began with Christmas Mass in Saint Hugh’s Catholic Church. Maybe you already know that in Ballinaglera each person is in some way a musician. The choir at Mass consisted of local ordinary people and for sure you could not see the difference between this and a professional one. Famous «Hallelujah» and «We wish you a Merry Christmas» bonded everybody.
After mass but before the children went to bed, the family put milk and cookies for Santa in front of the chimney and carrot for reindeers. Our family really takes care of Santa.
Christmas day started with cheerful shouts and screaming not only from children, everybody was delighted to see what Santa brought for them (including earrings for Kate!). The cookies and carrots had disappeared as you might have guessed.
Christmas dinner or lunch is the next part of enjoyment. The table groaned under the food: duck with gravy, bacon, all kinds of vegetables and Christmas pudding at the end. Thank God everybody survived – it was delicious!
Christmas holiday in Spain
Christmas is an important event in Spain, not just because of the religious connotation but also family gatherings. December 24th evening is the most important celebration. Families have dinner together enjoying a wide range of delicious meals: seafood, smoked salmon and salad for starters following by roasted lamb with gravy or steamed cod with cauliflower. For dessert different choices are available on the table: cheesecake, apple pie, turron, raisins and dates. During the meal we share our memories and usually speak about our lives and politics.
New Year’s Eve is an important celebration too. It’s not as intimate and quiet as Christmas Eve but there’s one important tradition. Twelve seconds before 12.00 am we sit around the table and eat twelve grapes. Each grape symbolizes each month of the year and they have to be eaten with every clock stroke. The tradition started in 1909 due to a grape harvest surplus in Alicante. It’s a way to say goodbye to the previous year and start the new one with the best of luck!
The night of 5th of January is the most important celebration for kids! We commemorate the time when, according to Christian religion, The three Wise Men brought presents to Jesus. That night, presents appear under the Christmas tree and the day after all family enjoy together their new gifts.
Christmas is a period of joy and social events. It’s about spending time with important people in your life and sharing your food and time with them!