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Holidays Around the World- Spain

This time of year goes by so darn quickly!  I wake up one day and people are putting out their Halloween decorations, and then I blink and it's already the New Year!  This time around, I'm taking it slowly by planning a little bit in advance and savor the moments.

I'm starting off by joining some dear blogging buddies for a little Holiday Blog Hop!  We are taking you on a trip around the world to study different holiday celebrations and offer up some amazing FREEBIES for you and your classroom!

Well, my bags are packed and I'm headed to Spain!  Are you coming?

Christmas, or Navidad, is a very festive time of year in Spain.  Christmas celebrations begin on December 24th with Christmas Eve, and ends on January 6th with the Epiphany.

Christmas Eve is known as La Noche Buena, or The Good Night.  As the sun goes down and the stars come out, tiny oil lamps are lit in the windows of every home.  At midnight, families make their way to church for Midnight Mass.  After the service, families gather for a great family feast.  One of the most popular dishes is called Pavo Trufado de Navidad, or Christmas Turkey with truffles.  Truffles are a special mushroom found underground, and considered a delicacy.  After dinner, the streets fill with dancers.  People listen to guitars and castanets play as they celebrate with a special Christmas dance called the Jota.  The music and words of the Jota have been passed down from generation to generation for hundreds of years.  The music and dancing typically continue into the early morning hours.

On Christmas Day, families generally spend most of the day between church, feast and more family celebrations.  Special swing sets are set up and children and youths swing from them in celebration.  Homes are decorated with Nacimientos.  These are very detailed Nativity scenes depicting baby Jesus in the manger.  Families also exchange presents on Christmas Day.

Santa is not the traditional bearer of gifts in Spain.  Instead, children await the coming of the Magi, or kings for their gifts.  On Dia de Los Reyes, or Day of the Kings, it is believed that the Magi travel through the countryside reenacting their journey to Bethlehem every year.  On the eve of Dia de Los Reyes, children fill their shoes with straw, carrots and other food for the Magi's horses, and leave them out on their windowsills.  In appreciation of their efforts, the children wake up to find their shoes are filled with small gifts and toys.  Balthazar is typically the favorite king of children, as he is the one believed to leave the gifts.

Dia de Los Reyes, also called The Epiphany, is celebrated on January 6th.  On this day, there are parades throughout different cities.  Children also buy or make special pastries called Rascónes.  A Rascón typically has a small toy or a figure of baby Jesus hidden inside.  This marks the final day of the Christmas season in Spain.

One of my favorite books to introduce this topic is from Barnabas and Anabel Kindersley.  This book highlights festivals and celebrations from all over the world, and can really engage children in a comparison of different cultures!

After introducing Christmas in Spain to my students, I like to give them the opportunity to process the information and make sense of it.  One of my favorite ways to do this is by encouraging them to compare what they have learned to their own experiences.  Use the activity below to help students organize their connections, and understand how Christmas in Spain is different from and similar to their own Christmas celebrations.
I also like to reinforce new words and phrases.  I created the vocabulary activity below to help students better understand the important words they encountered during the lesson.
Providing students with a choice is always a plus.  I like to give my students the opportunity to choose a favorite/interesting piece of information they learned.  Below, students can choose a custom that they found interesting and show what they learned by drawing and writing about that custom.
I hope you enjoyed your "trip" to Spain!  Click on the image below to grab your Passport Page for Spain! (You can collect them all to use with your kiddos!)

If you are following these activities from around the world, and would like to make passports with your students, here are some complimentary stamps to use!

An InLinkz Link-up


  1. I'm going to have to buy that book, it looks great! So do your freebies! Thanks for joining us!

    Terrific Teaching and Learning

  2. I LOVE DK books! They are so informative and full of such color... so inviting for my little friends! And I love the graphic organizer comparing/contrasting. My kids will definitely benefit from that!


  3. I blogged about that book too Jillian! #greatminds
    My family is from Cuba and we celebrate La Noche Buena as well! Christmas Eve is "bigger" than Christmas. ;-)
    Thanks for the cute freebies!

  4. Love that book and the venn diagram - such a great idea! Thanks for sharing!

    ☘ Molly
    Lucky to Be in First

  5. I am so excited to actually celebrate christmas around the world in my class this year. LOVE the venndiagram! Thanks for sharing :)

  6. Love this, but am having trouble downloading the passport page for Spain.

    1. Thank you for letting me know :) Give it a try now and see how it goes! Thanks for stopping by!

  7. I am also having trouble downloading the files :(

    1. Hi Sheri! Give it a try now and see how it goes! Thanks for stopping by!

  8. Great! But I can't download the stamps and I can't click on the link to the next destination....

    1. Hi Shakwana,
      The next destinations are all listed with the blogger icons below the banner. Click on any of the 11 other blog posts to hop around :) As for the stamps, simply click on the image, right click, and save them to your computer. I hope this helps! Thank you so much for stopping by!

  9. My students are going to love this! Especially the "Important Words" page - that will be a hit! Thanks for the great freebie!

    Mrs. Beattie's Classroom