By Regina Winkle-Bryan in Barcelona—
Santa is secondary in Barcelona. The big day for the Spanish, and Catalans, is King’s Day, January 6. Still, there is plenty of festivity going down this month in Spain’s second-largest metropolis. Here are some of the best events to look for this holiday season:
The Santa Lucia Christmas Market
December 3 – December 24, 2010
It may pale in comparison to the lavish Christmas Markets of northern Europe, but the Santa Lucia Market has a Barcelona twist that makes it unique and well worth a visit. It is not common to buy a real tree in Spain, but those who do get them at this market. I love walking through Santa Lucia just to smell the scent of fresh pine needles.
You’ll also find everything you might need for your miniature Christmas Village or Nativity Scene here: wise-men, Mary, Jesus, the donkey and a little figure called Caga Nen, who appears, pants down, doing his “business.” No Catalan Nativity Scene is complete without a Caga Nen. I’m not joking. Draw your own conclusions to the “Why” behind this Catalan tradition.
Santa Lucia also has a fantastic line up of artists selling their crafts from booths around the edges of the markets. Find shawls, jewelry, soaps, oils, foods, wines, and other wonderful ceramics. I always try to buy from these vendors, as I like supporting the arts. Plus, as you are buying directly from the source, there are great deals to be had.
Shopping Drap Art at the CCCB Museum
December 17, 2010 to January 9, 2011
Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona (CCCB)
Support European artists while getting a unique hand-made gift that is also recycled. Too good to be true? The International Recycling Art Festival of Catalonia and Drap Art craft fair returns this Christmas, with exhibitions open at CCCB and other venues. Drap Art has been displaying Europe’s funkiest designs for over thirteen years and will be in Barcelona just in time for the holidays and King’s Day.
I went to this festival last year, which is held in Barcelona’s center of contemporary-cool, the CCCB. I found quite a few things that I wanted to buy at Drap Art, including a purse made of tires and earrings made of pop cans. Very creative. Drap Art goes to show that where some see garbage, others see gold.
Drap-Art’10 group exhibition: December 17 – January 9, 2011, Recycled art and design fairs: December 17, 18 and 19, 2010 and January 3, 4 and 5, 2011.
New Year’s Eve…
7 Sins Bar, Muntaner 7
The most expensive night of the year? Just about. Restaurants and bars charge huge covers for New Year’s or “Noche Vieja,” as it is called here. Still, who wants to stay home (or in the hotel)? Consider a night out at 7 Sins Bar for New Year’s and music by local DJ, Glass Hat.
It may be best to be at dinner for the countdown, as is the tradition here. For the party, which kicks off at 1 a.m. after the ball drops, Glass Hat brings his signature mix of ’80s, ’90s, pop, rock and disco, plus a little salsa. I’ve heard through the grapevine that this event should sell out, so grab tickets in advance. Along the same thread, if you are planning to go out to dinner on New Year’s, make sure you have reservations ahead of time.