Christmas Markets in Barcelona
When Christmas Season starts in the Catalan capital, the city dons a festive atmosphere. With this the holiday spirit in mind, squares all around Barcelona fill with vendors to create Christmas markets. The most famous of these markets is the Christmas Market of Santa Llúcia, which we mentioned in our article about New Year’s Eve 2013 in Barcelona. This traditional market enchants visitors and residents alike year after year, century after century. If you are travelling to Barcelona near the end of this December from near or afar, the Santa Llúicia market is always worth passing by – just in front o f the Barcelona Cathedral, in the centre of the city and its maze of charming, gothic streets.
At the Santa Llúcia Christmas Market, you will find every traditional Catalan Christmas decoration and some non-traditional ones as well. Fir trees, lights, candles, nativity figures, Santa Claus and Saint Nicholas dolls, stars, mistletoe… and, of course, the most traditional Catalan Christmas touches, the uncle of Christmas named tío de Nadal in Catalan and the pooping figure called el caganer in Catalan. The first is simply a hollowed out tree trunk that you feed and cover with a blanket in the days leading up to Christmas Eve. After the tío has been “fattened up,” children sing and hit it with sticks so that the tío deficates small presents for them that appear magically under the blanket.
The other typical Christmas figure, el caganer, is an important part of any traditional Catalan nativity scene. This figure is a man bent over and pooping onto the ground with his pants around his ankles. You will notice that in Christmas markets you can find both the traditional figure, wearing a red cap, white shirt, brown vest and pants as well as many, many adaptations in the form of famous figures (both real and fictional!); such adaptations include Star Wars ´ Darth Vader, Barça football player Messi, Barack Obama, and others. If there is not a caganer figure made in your likeness, then you are not truly famous!
Leaving the Santa Llúcia market, we go to another interesting Christmas market, the one at Sagrada Familia. At the foot of Antoni Gaudí´s famous church, you can find Christmas decorations, gifts, and treats with fewer crowds. It is located in one of the city’s parks and is a great option for families shopping with children. While you’re there, don’t pass up the opportunity to marvel at Sagrada Familia while partaking in the Christmas cheer!