Manuel, Sévilles

I have no story to tell, just some scattered memories.

For me, Christmas is helping my mom in my childhood to build a "Belén", or Nativity Scene at home, using ceramic figures (Baby Jesus, Virgin Mary, St. Joseph, the ox, the three wisemen on their camels, etc). That's a tradition in Spain. Only in recent years we have Xmas trees.

Also from my chilhood, I remember watching my dad imitating and mocking Franco's Xmas speech (for those who have not heard of him, Franco was a dictator who ruled Spain until his death, in 1975). My dad would ask me not to say anything at school about his imitation, I could not understand why at the time.

I remember going to visit my family (grandparents, uncles and aunts, cousins, etc) at New Year's Eve and eating all together 12 grapes during the last 12 seconds of the year, as the clock on the "Puerta del Sol" in Madrid strikes 12, it was great fun having all those grapes in your mouth and trying to swallow them while you tried to talk. This is a very old tradition here in Spain.

Every January the 5th in the evening we would watch the "cabalgata de los reyes magos", or Epiphany Parade, where the three wisemen would throw candy and little toys to the watching crowd. Another Spanish tradition. Then the children would go home waiting for the wise men to leave their presents during the night, and would leave a glass of milk for the thirsty camels (our son, many years later, at the age of three, would get momentarily lost while watching that parade in the village where we live. We found him in less than 2 or 3 minutes, but they were very long minutes).

Rendez-vous sur Hellocoton !

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