The Christmas period, one of the most important times of the year, is almost upon us, with people rushing to get their last minute shopping done! For most people it is a time to eat and drink lots, spend some quality time with their families, and put their feet up and enjoy some much needed rest and relaxation. In many ways therefore Christmas in Lanzarote is very similar to the UK, mainland Europe and many other parts of the world such as the US and Canada.
|Christmas lights in Arrecife (Photo Credit: Diario de Lanzarote)|
Although there is a real festive spirit in Lanzarote with Christmas lights in most of the towns and villages, Christmas trees in almost every home, and kids excited for their presents, there are some big differences as well though. One of the most noticeable differences for anyone who is on holiday in Lanzarote over the Christmas period from other European countries, especially Northern Europe, is how warm it still is. It almost doesn’t feel like Christmas as there are average temperature highs of around 19 – 20 °C throughout December and January.
Many people are at the beach still sunbathing and swimming. Even with the unseasonably warm weather in the UK at the moment, this would still be unthinkable! Places like Australia are expected to have Christmas at the beach as it is summertime there, whereas the Canary Islands are actually in the middle of winter. Winter in the Canaries are a lot different to the rest of Europe though!
|You can still comfortably swim in Lanzarote in December!|
Although there are many cultural similarities with the UK during Christmas time, because the Canary Islands are technically part of Spain the majority of people living in Lanzarote celebrate Christmas according to Spanish traditions. Unlike in the UK, Christmas Eve is just as important as Christmas Day. Many people go to Midnight Mass. Before this service families sit down together to enjoy their main Christmas meal which is traditionally roast Turkey stuffed with truffles, and roast vegetables.
While some presents are given on Christmas Day, the 6th of January is actually the day when most presents are given to family members. This is due to another part of the Christmas Story which is celebrated in Spain called ‘Fiesta de Los tres Reyes Mages’ which means ‘The festival of the three Magic Kings’. This is from the three kings or wise men brought gifts for baby Jesus. Children leave out shoes on windowsills or under the Christmas tree at night time on January 5th to be filled with presents. In Lanzarote just like other parts of Spain there is a Three Wise Men Parade (Cabalgata de Reyes) through the streets of the main towns, with the biggest and most popular being in Arrecife. There are floats with kids throwing out sweets, and three men dressed as the wise men riding camels, with a great family atmosphere!
|Three Wise Men Parade (Cabalgata de Reyes) in Playa Blanca (Photo Credit: Diario de Lanzarote)|
In Spanish, New Year’s eve is called ‘Nochevieja’ or ‘The Old Night’. Traditionally families are with each other at home until midnight, at which time everyone eats 12 grapes, one for each of the 12 strokes of the clock. If you manage to finish all your grapes in the time, then this is supposed be sign of good luck for the next year. As with the rest of the world though, in Lanzarote there are fireworks let off around the island!
Many of the towns and villages have miniature versions of the towns, and features of Lanzarote on display including nativity scenes incorporated into them. These are set up every year about a month before Christmas and are on display for the public, drawing a lot of interest, as they are very well designed and put together.
|A miniature village scene in Haria|
Whether you are spending the Christmas and New Year period enjoying the lovely weather and culture of Lanzarote, or are reading this from your back home, we wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from all the LBRA team!
– See more at: http://lanzaroteassociation.blogspot.co.uk/2015/12/what-makes-christmas-and-new-year.html#sthash.P6ELXsLL.dpuf