I have found that many of the Spanish traditions are quite similar to what I know from celebrating Christmas and New Year’s back in the United States. For example, going to midnight mass on Christmas Eve is not at all a culture shock for me. It was, however, fun to learn that they call midnight mass the Misa de Gallo, which translates literally to the “mass of the rooster.”
But there are other aspects that are indeed quite different. When we celebrate Christmas back in America, we sit down for a big meal on Christmas Day.
Here in Spain, the big meal is actually on Christmas Eve, or Nochebuena. The Christmas Eve feast is quite an elaborate affair, involving many courses and lasting several hours. Most families start with appetizers around 9 or 10 at night. That’s actually when people usually eat dinner here, and by the time I celebrated my first Christmas in Spain, I was already well used to the late dinners...