Last Updated on August 6, 2022
Mention European Christmas Markets and the first things to come into your head are hot wine and sausages. Spain, however, does things a little differently! If you visit Barcelona in December, you’ll be able to experience their Christmas Market which is a little different from the traditional German style Christmas Markets, at the Barcelona Christmas Market there were no signs of food or drink anywhere! Crazily enough, two of the most prominent items on sale revolved around…poop. One of the traditions I’d actually love to continue in my own life, think Elf on the Shelf but Spanish style!
Barcelona Christmas Market
The Market of Saint Lucia (Fira de Santa Llúcia) is located in front of Barcelona Cathedral and is the oldest Christmas market in Barcelona, dating back to the 1700’s!
2019 Dates & Times
The market starts on Friday 29th November and runs until Monday 23rd December. On most days the Christmas market opens at 11am and closes at 8.30pm. There are some days, mainly on the weekends, when it’s open from 10am until 9.30pm.
Tio De Nadal
Tio de Nadal (Christmas Log), otherwise known as Caga Tio (Poo Log), is exactly what it says on the tin…literally a log! On one end is a face and a little red hat and the idea is, children are meant to take good care of the log leading up to Christmas, feeding it up and keeping it warm by covering it with a blanket. Then on Christmas Eve, they ask the log to poop presents by hitting it with a stick…like a Piñata (only it doesn’t smash to pieces).
If they have been good, the log will poop sweets and nuts for the family to share. When it has finished, it’ll leave an onion or pee (a bowl of water). It sounds kinda yucky but I strangely love the idea! I think it’d be a fun winter project to make your own and I like the way it’s a bit like a communal present for everyone to enjoy, like you have to work together to get the reward! The market stalls sold the Tio de Nadals in all different sizes…I bought a teenie one as a souvenir that I hang on my own Christmas Tree!
The majority of stalls sold props to create Christmas/Nativity scenes. Think: little barns, clay animals, figures, food items…a bit like putting together a doll’s house. It is tradition to hide a ‘Caganer’ within the scene for the children to find (like Where’s Wally). Now I couldn’t physically bring myself to buy a Caganer, I found it a little bit too graphic!
The Caganer takes the form of a peasant in a red hat, like the Tio de Nadal, squatting and taking a poop. It represents fertilising the ground of the Nativity scene to bring good luck to make sure the scene can continue the following year. Just like everything in the mass market, these figures are also made in the shape of famous people, tv and film characters and in the colours of football teams…the stalls were swamped with customers!
Other than the Caganers, I found that the markets didn’t really sell items that could be bought as souvenirs/gifts, it was more focused on the craft of building the Nativity scenes and locals buying their real Christmas Trees, it was fun to walk round none the less! There’s also various musical performances and activities throughout the duration of the market. The Christmas market outside of the Sagrada Familia sells Christmas snacks as well as gifts, however it is smaller than the Market of Saint Lucia.
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It’s really strange visiting a Christmas Market when it’s ‘warm’ out, Barcelona has an average December high of 14c/57f! You can read my full Barcelona winter break itinerary by clicking on the link.
I’d also recommend a visit to Tibidabo Skywalk – For The Best Panoramic View of Barcelona!