Feliz Navidad! One of the customs in Spain is to have an extravagant nativity scene or Belén. Yes, Mary, Joseph and little baby Jesus but then add on the whole village of Bethlehem; the shops, the farms, little fires roasting meals, whole neighborhoods, etc. They are fun to stop and look at as we wander about town. Our Flamenco teacher’s family has one of the best we’ve seen and they open the doors to their home for two showings per day for anyone who wants to take a look. As Kendal and I left one day from one of our classes there were three classes of very cute five and six year olds waiting patiently in line to go in and see the Belén, they had walked over from a nearby school for this field trip. In the center of town, right behind the Cathedral, there is a large market specifically for selling the little figures that make up the scene. Another tradition is that the Three Kings; Balthazar, Gaspar, and Melchior (Steve made me add their names, thought someone might be curious) bring gifts to the children on January 6th. Christmas is for family celebration and the sharing of a large meal, not presents. Some families are slowly changing and give gifts on Christmas but most hang on strong to the tradition of the Three Kings. As we walk about in the evening the streets are filled with lights – each street has a different design – we all have fun searching out these different designs.
We feel so blessed to be able to spend this holiday with my brother and his family. My mom had to have an emergency open-heart surgery 2 days ago and all went well. The blessings of coming from a large family where there are others there to look after my parents during this year is something I take for granted from time to time but I am so very grateful to my siblings for being there for my parents.
Wishing everyone a loving and peaceful Christmas. Merry Christmas to one and all!
December 25, 2011 at 10:39 am
So sorry to hear of your Mom’s health challenges and it must have been so hard to be so far away from her during her ordeal! Very glad to hear that all went well. It’s nice to hear about a non-commercial celebration of Christmas over there. ( And thanks, Steve, for making Amy write in the names…it adds to the rich tapestry of your blog!) With our very best wishes for a Merry Christmas, and a happy and healthy New Year!
December 25, 2011 at 5:11 pm
Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy 2012! This will be the most memorable Christmas for you all! All my best to your mother during her recovery time.
December 26, 2011 at 9:04 am
Feliz Navidad! We have so enjoyed following your incredible journey through this blog, and wanted to send a quick message to say Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to our neighbors!