December 2 – Generally this is the date that the Christmas Square is opened (in front of the Town Hall, old town) this tends to start with the traditional lighting of Christmas lights including the Christmas tree lighting.
The Plaza de la Navidad – There is normally an ice rink, mechanical attractions and daily performances with character animation.
Situated on Gambo Street throughout the month and until December 25. In the village children can visit Santa’s house for free and take pictures with him.
Benidorm will once again host the traditional Christmas Market (Mercat de Nadal) on Avenida Martínez Alejos, organized by the Festival Committee, where you can buy traditional and local products from the area and typical of Christmas.
December 21st – Hogueras, which literally translates to ‘bonfires’. During this celebration, the winter solstice (the shortest day of the year) is celebrated. A typical event which takes place is people jumping over fires to protect themselves from illness in the upcoming year.
December. 22nd – Most Spanish will be glued to the TV watching the children calling/singing out the numbers and prizes of the Lotería de Navidad, which is likely the most followed Spanish lottery during the entire year.
December 24th – In Spain, Christmas Eve is called Nochebuena and marks the most important family meeting of the year. People usually spend the late afternoons and early evening with friends for a few drinks and tapas, then head back home to enjoy a nice family dinner. After their evening meal, the whole family will go to church for the traditional midnight Mass or “Misa Del Gallo”, which in a devoutly Roman Catholic country is much more than a ‘Carol Service’ event and holds great significance as an important part of Christmas.
December 25th – Christmas Day is celebrated as a national holiday in Spain, so all the shops are closed. This day is not celebrated as the typical ¨day for presents¨ as that day occurs on the 6th of January when the Three Kings bring the presents for the children, but more of a day to relax and spend time with families. There is typically a big lunchtime meal with the family and maybe a few drinks with friends in the evening.
December 28th –The day of Santos Inocentes (Holy Innocents) is celebrated much like another Western holiday, April Fool’s Day. This holiday finds children and adults playing practical jokes on each other. This is a fun day to run wild and play some pranks on your friends and family.
December 31st–In Spain, New Year’s Eve is called Noche Vieja (old year). The party stays at home for many until midnight, as it is a tradition to eat 12 grapes, one at each chime of the clock. Tradition has it that anyone who manages all 12 grapes, without choking, will have 12 months of prosperity – it’s not as easy as it sounds, but it’s fun to have a go! After the grapes and Cava, the party begins and goes on well into the next morning.
Another other strange tradition in Spain during New Years is to wear red underwear.
The red underwear should be given to you and is to be worn on New Year´s Eve; this is to bring good luck for the upcoming 12 months. All over the shopping centers, markets, and stores you will find red underwear being sold before New Year’s. The tradition dates back to the Middle Ages when it was prohibited to wear red as it was associated with witchcraft, the devil and blood. However the people would instead wear red underwear that couldn’t be seen as they believed that red was a symbol of life especially during the dark winter months.
BENIDORM´S NEW YEARS EVE PARTY (Details may change)
After the sucess of last years New Years Eve Party on Levante Beach, this years will be in the same place, it will start at 18.00 until around 02.30. There will be stage areas with DJ’s and five LED screens around the area (from the KU lounge down to Daytona Beach).
The party will start at 18.00 “with a mixture of music suitable for all ages at around 22.00 the DJs will be on with Top 40 music the party continues from 23.00 to 02.30 pm with entertainment in both Spanish and English.
The bells will chime twice once at midnight as is tradition, and again at 01.00 in the morning for the British crowd.
The organisers will distribute party favours, grapes and cava for the midnight toast the firework display will start around 00.15. The display will be set off from the Mirador so it will be clearly visible from both Levante and Poniente beaches.
January 1st– This public holiday is generally reserved for recuperating from the festivities from the night before. Most shops are closed and people tend to stay at home and recover.
January 5th –There are parades and processions throughout Spain during the evening where participants receive sweets and candies thrown from the floats. After all the excitement outdoors, and just before going to bed, children traditionally leave their shoes out (not their stockings here!) so that the Three Kings can leave gifts – just as they did with the infant Jesus.
The parade normally begins at 6pm from the Doves Park in Benidorm (Parque de Elche), and generally follows this route: Almendros Avenue, Marte street, Venus street, Ruzafa street, Herrerías street, Doctor Flemming square, and finishing at the Plaza de SSMM los Reyes de España (La AigueraPark, where the City Hall is).
January 6th –This date marks the Feast of the Epiphany, which is when the Three Kings arrived in Bethlehem. Much like Christmas Day around the rest of the world, this is the most important day for Spanish children. In the morning, they will awake to find that Los Reyes Magos (The Three Kings) have brought them gifts. Families typically start the day on 6th January with a huge breakfast that includes a large, ring-shaped cake called “Roscon de los Reyes”. The traditional sweet treat comes with dried fruits and two surprises hidden inside – the person who finds the ‘prize’ becomes King or Queen for the day, while whoever finds the unlucky ‘bean’ pays for next year’s cake!