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Barcelona definitely has its own way to celebrate one of the most important Christian feasts. Beside from delicious sweets which can found especially during Christmas in Spain, some Catalan traditions will surely make you laugh.

A typical symbol of Catalonia is the “caganer” (Catalan for shitter), a figure depicted in the act of defecation which stands close to the nativity scene. He is not a parody of any churchly tradition but a symbol of fertilisation which was to ensure a good harvest in the next year. The “Caganer” also represents the equality of people as everyone regardless of status, race or gender, defecates.

Another Catalan tradition is the “Tió de Nadal” or “Caga tió” (“shitting log” in Catalan), a log with two legs, a red hut and a smiling face. He is gently covered with a blanket and fed every day. On Christmas Eve, the tió “shits” little presents for kids.

Christmas in Spain is also an absolute gastronomic explosion. There is so much to taste, including many traditional sweets as the Spanish Christmas cookies. The many time-honored Mantecados are synonymous with Christmas in Spain. The Spanish word for lard is Manteca, so you can imagine that they are made of lots of it! In fact, they are so soft, they will literally melt in your mouth. In Spain these small, rich and crumbly cookies are wrapped in a brightly coloured wrapper.

Especially popular during Christmas in Spain are also the very traditional Polvorones, which recipe hasn’t changed in centuries. These Almond cookies are very flakey and soft and are made with flour, shortening, powdered sugar and cinnamon. The dough is refrigerated, then rolled out, cut and baked.

Another traditional favourite during Christmas in Spain is a nougat candy called Turrón. It combines Spain’s Marcona almonds with wildflower honey from the mountains near Jijona. It’s been in Spain for over a thousand years and the Moors produced a delicious variation of the candy. Turrón is still produced with the same natural ingredients in Jijona.

Enjoy Turrón, Mantecados and Polvorones cookies with family and friends and evoke the warm spirit of Christmas in Spain!

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