10 Andalucian towns with Christmas Flavor
Andalucia continues to keep many of its ancient traditions to celebrate Christmas. In many cases, this culture preservation is what makes our land attractive to numerous tourists during this time of the year.
Antequera: Convent Mantecados
People in Antaquera defend that it was there where the recipe for Mantecado was invented, a Christmas sweet made from flour, almonds and lard. The Antaquera factories that still make this sweet, some from two centuries ago, coexist in two small convents of sisters of the municipality, who handcraft a wide range of products, which are vastly appreciated by locals and visitors.
At the San Joseph Convent, the star product is the so-called “Antequerano”, a sweet in the shape of pastry the recipe of which is the most ancient of the city and it remains a secret. The sweets elaborated by the sisters Clarisas from the Belén Convent are also very famous.
Jerez: Flamenco Zambomba
Christmas in Jerez de la Frontera is especially marked by the celebration of the traditional zambombas. Typical parties in which people gather around a zambomba to sing Christmas carols. A zambomba is a Spanish friction drum. There are bars, pubs, flamenco clubs and all kinds of establishments that organize zambombas, where attendees can taste local wines and enjoy desserts and sweets of the season, such as roscos (doughnuts) and pestiños (honey-coated fritters).
Medina Sidonia: Cradle of Alfajores
On the subject of Christmas sweets, Medina has a lot to offer. It produces thousands of kilograms of alfajores, a sweet of Arab origins, the “dessert’s energy bar”, a sweet pastry that has become a symbol of this town. The II Count of Medina Sidonia, King Phillip IV and Doctor Thebussem all surrender to this delight. It was not long before it reached New Spain and became a famous sweet. Today it is also famous in Argentine as well as Venezuela. It became the first Andalusian pastry product to achieve the status of Protected Geographical Indication in 2005. The quintessential Al-Ándalus sweet, centuries do not affect it. It is hard to believe there might exist another sweet that has done more for a town than what the al-hasú or alfajor as done for Medina Sidonia.
Puente Genil: The Light of Christmas
Christmas and Puente Genil are closely related. In this town, there is the absolute flagship of light ornament factories in Spain. One could say that this is the town of Christmas lights. The company called Iluminaciones Ximénez also installs local streetlights, with more than a million and a half led lightbulbs, adding of course the highest Christmas tree in the whole of Spain, raising up to reach 42 meters of height and featuring 400.000 lights. This tree is installed in the entrance to the municipality.
Estepa: The Town of Mantecados
Estepa smells like mantecados even during summer. Their production is so high that they have to start working in August: they make 20 million kilograms in the 24 factories the town has. There is even a Mantecados tour, which allows visitors to discover the secrets behind this delicious treat. There are also guided tours inside the facilities of some of the most traditional factories, such as La Estepeña.
Arcos de la Frontera: Living Nativity Scene
The Living Nativity Scene has numerous stages scattered across the streets of Arcos. A picturesque town that is perfect to portray the birth of Jesus. Streets, corners, and houses lent by neighbors are used for the show. The scenes follow the sequence that start at Gate of Bethlehem, going to the Eastern Palace, Bethlehem Street, the Zoco or market and other scenes that lead to the Birth itself.
Algeciras: Dragging of Cans
The Dragging of Cans of Algeciras takes place in the morning before Three Kings’ Parade. It brings together thousands of people to watch local children run around the streets dragging sets of cans of different shapes, sizes or colors as they try to call the attention of the Three Kings.
Almayate Transforms into Bethlehem for Christmas
The town of Almayate transforms into Bethlehem for Christmas. Every year, locals commit themselves to a traditional representation that, due to its wonderfulness, has become a Tourist Singularity Celebration. Almost two hundred locals participate in the Living Nativity Scene that seven years ago Paco de Alba fought so hard to bring to this district of Velez-Malaga. A musical show that entertainingly portrays the birth of Jesus Christ. 150 actors and 50 assistants from the town make it possible.
Malaga: An Illuminated Street
A seventeen-meter high Christmas tree stands on the Constitution square of Malaga, historic center of the capital of the Costa del Sol. When night falls, Larios Street, the most popular of the city, shows a dazzling illumination featuring thousands of lightbulbs. Malaga is, after de Madrid, the most illuminated city of Spain during the holidays. Nativities Scenes Route, concerts in the streets and squares, music from pandas de verdiales, Christmas carols and entertainment for some unforgettable holidays.
Rute: A Nativity Scene to Watch and Taste
Each year, the Chocolate Nativity Scene becomes the sweet representative of Christmas in Rute. This town is visited by hundreds of people that are looking to enjoy the Spain’s biggest Chocolate Nativity Scene.
Seven master pastry chefs from Gallegos Artesanos work in the making of a nativity scenes that occupies a surface of 52 square meters in which they represent the most iconic monuments of Andalusia’s main cities and characters and scenes from everyday life at the time Jesus Christ was born.
WHERE TO STAY
With the calendar at hand and considering all of the aforementioned cultural manifestations, do not hesitate to choose good lodging. For that purpose, Fuerte Hoteles is your best option to plan the perfect holidays. Marbella, Estepona or Torrox are places where you can find incredible lodging and all of this typical Andalucian celebrations.