Monday, January 2, 2012
Christmas is a very different holiday in Valencia Spain than in the US. The only places where you will see lights and decoractions are in stores and shopping areas that want you to come spend your Christmas cash. It really didn't feel like the season to be jolly walking around our neighborhood. There were no lights twinkling nor trees visible through windows. The biggest difference we noticed, aside from the lights, was the lack of Santas. Sooo we had to find out what was up.
In Spain, we learned, presents are not delivered by an old guy with a jelly belly in a red suit. Children write their letters to the three kings and they come to deliver them on Jan 6th. The three kings are the men who came to visit baby Jesus when he was born and brought gifts. These same men come to Spain every year to deliver presents to all the boys and girls. There is usually a huge parade on the 5th in every town where the three kings and their helpers come into town throwing gifts and candy to all the children. It is said that the helpers climb up balconies and leave the gifts on them or in the house in the wee morning hours ( because Spainards go to sleep late) of Jan 6th.
Christmas, 12/25, is a time for family and reflection on the early life of Christ. People usually attend midnight mass and have huge meals with friends and loved ones. All over town different organizations create Belénes, which are models recreating the town of bethlehem at the time of Jesus's birth. Our family went touring the different Belénes and here is my favorite one. It tells the whole story surrounding the birth of Christ.