Winter is here and Christmas is just around the corner. Many streets of Mataró become vibrant and are already decorated to embrace this especial time. We can see children and adults downtown looking at decorations for their Xmas trees and cribs. Some leisure activities will be held outdoors for those who are not afraid of cold and enjoy going for a walk in winter. The vast majority of people strongly believe that December is totally different from the rest of the year. Not only can this perception be mainly noticed on children’s face, but it can also be on young’s and old’s because the spirit of Xmas runs deep in everyone somehow.
Having a family get-together is really cosy at Xmas. It is just one of those things that cannot be replaced. Many people love having their loved ones round for lunch or dinner. For this reason, supermarkets and all kinds of shops are crowded; adults doing the shopping and kids watching their favourite toys in open-mouthed astonishment. Some are in a hurry, others take their time looking around. Once at home and after cooking all those delicious dishes people wine and dine their guests. The traditional “turrons”, “neules” and other sweet desserts cannot be forgotten when people stay at table talking. There is another rooted tradition in Catalonia. On the night 24th December kids hit the Xmas log, well-known as “tió”. They sing a song in order to make it “shit” sweets, chocolates, “turrons” etc. Adults are involved in this as well, and they have a great time doing this all together. Many people are adopting more and more the tradition of Santa Claus instead of the Three Wise Men. It is due to influential foreign cultures.
There is a great sense of excitement on New Year’s Eve. Traditionally we celebrate the last night of the year having a huge dinner and then we eat twelf grains of grape on the stroke of twelf. Everybody makes New Year’s resolutions such as give up smoking, lose weigh, go to the gym or learn English, a very good idea indeed.
Finally, the last celebration at Xmas time is on the night 5th January. Many many people go to watch the Three Wise Men’s Procession. That night is really really special. That night is the children night. That night is magical. Kids go to bed early because they expect the Three Wise Men to come home. Melcior, Caspar and Balthazar, accompanied by their camels, go to every single house in the world leaving gifts for all who live in. There is a frantic activity in houses early next morning. Children are on the rampage unpacking boxes and shouting with joy to see what toy or thing is inside.
Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ on 25th December. It is certainly believed that guided by a shooting star the Three Wise Men went to a small crib there in Bethlehem. They offered the baby gold, frankincense and myrr as presents. This ancient tradition is kept alive ever since. So leave the camels water and sweets, go to bed early and carry on making people happy for a day at least.
I really wish you a very Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year.