Galicia is a region full of its own traditions that have remained throughout the years, and even for centuries. At Christmas, some traditions are the same as in the rest of Spain, but others are specific to this place. In today’s post, we share the most striking ones.
Singing carols (or panxoliñas)
In Galicia, it is traditional for young people to visit houses in groups singing famous carols or traditional ‘panxoliñas’, which are Christmas songs that are sung in exchange for gifts and are accompanied by traditional Galician musical instruments, such tambourines (panderetas) and bagpipes (gaitas).
This tradition dates back to the 15th century and normally takes place on the most important dates of the festive season: Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and Three Kings’.
Do the ritual of the Yule Log (Tizón or Cepo de Nadal)>
The Yule Log (Tizón or Cepo de Nadal – related to Christmas and the month of December in Galician) is a large wooden log which is burnt in the fireplace on Christmas Eve as part of a good luck ritual. It is an age-old Galician tradition for celebrating the winter solstice and is also a tradition in parts of central and western Europe, and is linked to Pagan, Indo-European and Celt rituals.
After burning the log, a fire is lit with a new log, which is only burned halfway and then kept until the next year, to guarantee a good year full of luck.
Typical Galician cuisine
Galicia is famous for its excellent gastronomy. Sharing lunches and evening meals with family and friends is a display of love and affection. For that reason, Christmas is celebrated with many gatherings where people enjoy eating and drinking in the company of their loved ones.
In Galicia, it is common to eat seafood at Christmas. Spider crab, king prawns, Norway lobster, lobster and other seafood fill the tables of every family in Galicia during the festive season, accompanied, of course, by the best Galician white wines and traditional liqueurs made with grape pomace and other ingredients.
Eating some meat is also common. In Vilalba (Lugo), for example, the traditional Feira do Capón takes place, where you can buy capons and other local products. Seafood is also usually combined with some type of fish, such as monkfish or bream.
It all depends on the preferences of each family, but seafood is always a highlight.
Christmas decorations throughout Galicia
One of the most popular ways of decorating cities and towns in countries that celebrate Christmas is by filling their streets with Christmas decorations and lights. The same occurs in Galicia. The lights flood the cities and attract locals and visitors to the city centre to enjoy the Christmas atmosphere. Particularly notable is the Christmas tree in Ourense, the largest in Galicia, and the millions of LED lights, attractions and decorations that envelope the city of Vigo with a festive atmosphere full of sparkle and fun.
In addition to Christmas decorations and lights, Vigo also boasts activities to enjoy at Christmas. One of them is Vigo’s O Barco do Nadal with the Mar de Ons ferry company, which promises you a fabulous trip along the ria, bursting with Christmas music, cocktails, lights and lots of fun.