No surprise here, Christmas is the most important family and religious holiday of the year also in the Balearic islands. This time brings them traditional customs and creative new festivities as well as the lights and decorations on the streets and plazas all charming visitors to enjoy the mild Mediterranean winter.
The origins trace back to thirteenth-century Italy and became widespread in the late eighteenth century. Christmas was more a high holy affair, a deep veneration of the Christ child.
CHRISTMAS TIME ON THE ISLAND
Christmas lights & trees usually begin at the end of November, beginning of December. Very popular festivities are markets and fairs, which are presented in many local bars and restaurants with something yummy to bite and hot to drink. Every town has a program of events prepared showcasing various plays, concerts and children’s activities. If you want to know where is the place to go to, definitely visit the English Speaking Church of Ibiza And Formentera where you can buy something nice from their own fair with special products from England that can’t be normally found in Ibiza.
CUSTOMS & HABITS
A religious tradition is attending Midnight mass on Christmas Eve. During this service, so called Ses Caramelles are sung and performed, unlike the catchy carols they were not intended as popular songs but liturgical music sung by trained choir members. More than celebrating Santa Claus and gift giving, it has a deep routes in religion and baby Jesus. As Ibiza is a home also for Jewish community, ther have been organized festival services, cultural events and lots of delicacies and ingredients as well to celebrate Hanukkah according to traditions. This year Christian and Jewish celebration overlaps, and so we can celebrate all together at the same time. But as it is natural, tourism has brought many different cultures and now people living on the island celebrate Christmas with international habits and worldly merry-making.
As always, it is matter of one§s taste, but we cannot forget two local delicacies and that is sofrit pagès, a rich stew made of two kinds of Ibicenco sausages, streaky bacon, spare ribs, garlic, parsley and potatoes, and the second one is salsa Nadal, a thick liquid made of ground almonds, oriental spices and honey, all cooked in stock. Serrano ham, Manchengo cheese and Turron, a local rich fuge delicacy are must alongside roasted vegetables and other delicious specialties cannot miss on the dinner table.
On the Christmas Eve, which takes precedent over Christmas Day itself for the locals, the feast begins. Later on at midnight all Catholics gather in the beautiful churches around the island. Originally the traditional present-giving doesn’t take place until the sixth of January, known as The Day Of The Kings, but after mixing so many cultures and the influence from west countries, some celebrate the Christmas Eve with presents.
December is definitely one of the coolest months of the year in Ibiza. In comparison with white Christmas, Ibiza keeps the average temperature at 14 °C slowly falling to 12,5°C at the end of the month. Don´t forget to bring your umbrella when going to Ibiza in December, as there is a really good chance you´re going to catch some while you§re there.
So let’s come and celebrate the Christmas in cheerful Ibiza with us!