Galician Christmas

Two years ago, I wrote about some of the different Spanish customs. As I haven’t travelled much to Galicia, I was completely unaware about their traditions. This calls for investigation! Ya hace dos años, escribí de algunas tradiciones españolas de Navidad. Como no he viajado mucho por Galicia, no sabía nada de sus tradiciones. Por eso…¡he de investigar! 

Before Santa Claus’s influence arrived to Spain as Papá Noel, Galicia had their own Apaldador, somewhat similar to the Basque Olentzero.  The Apaldador is a giant miner who lives in the mountains. Every Christmas, he visits the villages and touches the belly of children to see if they were well fed and leaves them with a handful of roasted nuts. He wears green, smokes a pipe and has a beret. The tradition is becoming popular once again. Antes de la influencia de Papá Noel en España, Galicia tenía su propio Apaldador, algo parecido al Olentzero vasco. O Apaldador es un carbonero y gigante. Vive en las montañas. Todas las Navidades visita los pueblos y toca la barriga de los niños para saber si se alimentan bien y les deja un puñado de castañas asadas. Se vista en verde, fuma una pipa y lleva una boina. La tradición está haciéndose popular otra vez. 

The Cepo de Nadal/Tizón de Nadal: It is also traditional to burn a log slowly, which represents the birth of a new sun (new year?) and whose ashes are thrown on the fire afterwards to protect from lightning. El Cepo de Nadal o Tizón es otra tradición gallega. Se quema un tronco lentamente, que representa el nacimiento de un año nuevo. Las cenizas se echan al fuego para proteger la casa de rayos. 

Galicia is a region that I hope to spend a lot of time next year when I finish el Camino del Norte. I’ll be able to write more authentically once I know the region better! Galicia es una región donde espero poder pasar mucho tiempo el año que viene cuando acabe el Camino del Norte. Ya podré escribir más auténticamente cuando conozca la zona mejor. 

No matter where you are in the world right now, Happy Holidays (Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Winter Solstice, and Happy New Year!), ¡Felices fiestas! Bones festes! Boas festas! Zorionak eta urte berri on! No importa donde estás en estas fechas, os deseo Felicies fiestas, bones festes, boas festas, zorionak eta urte berri on.

May your 2017 be better than 2016! ¡Qué vuestro 2017 sea mejor que vuestro 2016!

Thank you, gracias y graças to the following sources of information/a los siguentes fuentes de información.

Gastronomía de Galicia
La Morada del Búho

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17 thoughts on “Galician Christmas

  1. I always say that Galicia is the 5th province of Ireland. There are so many similarities. I love that part of Spain and I hope to be back in April / May. Happy Christmas to you Pablo and enjoy the Holidays!

    • Galicia is more Celtic than the rest of Northern Spain, which in general could pass for Ireland in photos. Happy Christmas to you too! Hope to make it to Santiago in 2017.

  2. I love following your posts. Spain is very dear to my heart as the 1st European country I visited. My next trip there will be the Galicia region. Looking forward to 2017!

  3. Wishing you the very best for the New Year!
    I will also be on the Camino in 2017, leaving from Le Puy approx. May 1st, and hoping to complete about the middle of July. Galicia was a special area, when I was there in 2010 and not a drop of rain!!!!!

    • I saw A Coruña a rainy morning in 2009. Can’t wait to finally arrive to Santiago soon. Buen Camino! Yours sounds like it’ll be quite a long but rewarding one!

  4. If you go to Galicia again I really recommend the coast of Muros and the beaches nearby like “Ancoradoiro” – it’s magical! Carnota also has amazing views of the sea and the countryside 🙂

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