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Christmas

Christmas

The crumbly Christmas cookies collectively known as mantecados, which you will see in the months leading up to Christmas, individually wrapped and sold either by weight, or in a box, are made in a town located in the eastern part in Seville province, Estepa.

An important part of the lead-up to Christmas for Andalucians involves one of their favourite pastimes - shopping. This isn't just about making purchases, whether gifts or food for one of the big family meals; it's about browsing, wandering through stores looking at things, discussing them - at length and in detail - with friends and family (jamon, decorations, belen figures, shoes, kitchen equipment) over coffee.

Christmas is not Andalucia´s biggest religious celebration - Semana Santa has that distinction. But it is nonetheless a big deal, with all the seasonal ambience, lights, markets, special food and other trappings. Every school, shop, office and home has a Nativity Scene.

Traditionally, children received their presents at Dia de los Reyes Magos (Kings´ Day, 6 January), but these days many get theirs either at Christmas, or at both Christmas and Reyes, as foreign influence grows in Spain.

The villancicos are also known by the name of zambombas in Andalucía, a name which comes from the instrument that is traditionally used to accompany them. A zambomba is a drum like instrument that has a stick inserted through the skin, and the stick is moved up and down, creating the rhythm.

Christmas brings great cheer across Spain as families prepare to spend the Season together over one elaborate meal after another. Every year Andalucia.com brings you a special look at Christmas and this year it no different.

Read on to discover all the great festivals and holidays of the Spanish Christmas season in addition to Spanish Christmas recipes and ideas for tracking down gifts “Made in Spain” and Andalucia-based charities that will welcome your goodwill at this time of year – and throughout the year as well!

Unlike most Spaniards, who focus their religious fervour on the Virgin Mary, the gypsies have always identified closely with Jesus, because, like them, he was a wanderer and had to rely on whatever pickings he could find, as he made his way through the world.

Traditional Spanish Christmas pastries (of the non-"turrón" type) add a special touch to the holidays with their own distinct flavours - and textures! Here is a look at some of the most popular specialities. Once upon a time they were only available in December and January, but that is changing. Nevertheless, it's only during the holiday season that you'll see them in such large amounts. In fact, in most supermarkets you can even buy them in bulk.

This traditional Christmas candy is becoming more common throughout the year as supermarkets offer it as a standard product. However, it is still associated with the Christmas season where it is served after meals on a platter full of all kinds of Christmas sweets, nuts and dried fruits.

'Pavo Navideño' or Christmas Turkey, try this recipe for a christmas turkey in Andalucia. Whilst the Andalucia tradition is Seafood at christmas, turkey is becoming popular and is posible to purchase at surermarkets and larger butchers.