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Santa Llúcia

Fair of Santa Llúcia

Fair of Santa Llúcia
Catedral

Street
Avinguda de la Catedral

Nov 24 - Dec 23
  • When: 24 November - 23 December 2017. Open 10:30 - 22:30
  • Where: Plaza de la Catedral de Barcelona. Get there via Metro station Catalunya (L1, L3, FGC) or Jaume I (L4)
  • Price: Free to browse
  • Accommodation Nearby: Flats close to the Cathedral
  • Website:

Christmas Magic in Barcelona

Once again, the Fira de Santa Llúcia will return to redecorate Plaza de la Catedral into a Christmas wonderland! The market dates back to 1786 and is the oldest fair dedicated to all things Christmas. As Barcelona’s oldest Christmas market, it is traditionally filled with locals and tourists spending Christmas in Barcelona wandering around the lively, festive stalls. The celebration has always been very popular, so much so that in 1860, when the epidemic of yellow fever struck Barcelona, the festivities still went ahead. This year, the fair will come to Barcelona on 24 November and finishes on 23 December.

Naturally, because of the cultural significance, it's the best place to come face to face with other Catalan traditions, like Caga Tió or the Caganer. You can read about those here.

Fira de santa llucia
A magic christmas market in front of Barcelona cathedral

History

Originally, the fair was celebrated in honour of the feast day of Saint Lucy, virgin and martyr, (Santa Llúcia) on 13 December. On this day, there were festivities in the Cathedral where the image of Saint Lucy was venerated. Meanwhile, there were stalls with Nativity scenes, clay and cardboard figurines and more outside the Cathedral. Since there are many traditions associating the name Lucy with light, she is considered the patron saint of sight, therefore people attend mass and pray to the saint to preserve their eyesight. She is popularly known as the defender of eyesight.

It is also said that the fair was a place for unmarried women to go, accompanied by their mothers, to try and find a husband. They would attend in their best clothes and jewellery to try to catch the attention of their possible future husbands.

Tíos

El Tío de Nadal, or Catalonia’s traditional pooping Christmas log, is a log which stands on two or four legs with a painted smiling face, covered in a cloth. However, these are modern additions, as traditionally simply a dead piece of wood would be brought into the house. Every night, children feed the little log and cover it with the cloth to keep it from getting cold. Children are told to take good care of the log, keeping it well fed and warm, so that on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, it will poop out presents. Traditionally, children hit the log whilst singing a song to make it poop sweets, nuts and fruit, although this can vary depending on the region.

Traditional Catalan pooping log
Catalonia's pooping log

Stalls

Every year, the fair normally has around 300 stalls selling a variety of Christmas themed items to suit all ages! Because there are so many stalls, the fair is normally divided into different sections:

  • Nativity scenes and figures – stalls in this sector mainly offer accessories for Nativity scenes, caves, figures, Christmas lights, baubles, candles and Christmas decorations for homes, crib scenes and Christmas trees.
  • Greenery and plants – in this sector you will be able to find real and artificial trees, moss, tíos in all shapes and sizes, natural cork, lucky branches of eucalyptus, holly, mistletoe and more.
  • Arts and crafts – hand-made products and accessories can be found in this sector, such as jewellery, clothes, decorations, gifts, and much more.
  • Drums and instruments – here you can buy Simbombes, or friction drums in English, as well as tambourines, whistles and other instruments.

Main activities

As well as the many stalls, there are a number of other activities at the fair. There is a day of Christmas traditions and customs, which includes dance performances, puppet shows, a parade and more. Additionally, there is El Tío Gegant, which is a giant popping log on display, as well as folk dances.

A beautiful insight into this beloved fair

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