Your Complete Guide to Spanish Christmas Vocabulary

 

Spanish Traditions

Before reading the complete A-Z guide on Spanish Christmas Vocabulary, you need to understand how people in Spain celebrate Christmas.

In Spain, Christmas starts on the 24th of December and ends on the 6th of January. Of course, the build-up starts around the second week of December, when people decorate their houses, usually with both the traditional crib and the Christmas tree.

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve is perhaps one of the most important days, if not the most. Families eat dinner together, but not before 9 pm. Many foods are served, from entrants to the main course and desserts, which usually includes “turrón,” “polvorones,” and chocolates. Unlike many other countries, we don’t usually get gifts this night.

New Year’s Eve

New Year’s Eve is usually celebrated with friends, family, or both. According to the tradition, we say goodbye to the year by eating twelve grapes in the last twelve seconds of the year. Everyone, except for maybe small kids, do so.

The Three Wise Men

The 5th of January is another important day, as it’s the day when the Three Wise Men come to give children their presents.  This night is magical for both kids and adults.

Spanish Christmas Vocabulary: Your Complete A-Z Guide

A

  • (Los) Adornos de Navidad/Adornos navideños: Christmas ornaments
  • (El) Aguinaldo: Christmas tip
  • (El) Ángel: Angel
  • (El) Árbol de navidad: Christmas tree

B

  • Baltasar, Gaspar, Melchor: Balthasar, Gaspar, Melchior
  • (El) Belén: Nativity scene, manger scene, or crib
  • (Las) Bolas de Navidad: Christmas ornaments
  • (Los) Bombones: Chocolates
  • Brindar: To toast

C

  • (La) Cabalgata de Reyes Magos: Cavalcade of the Magi
  • (El) Calendario de Adviento: Advent calendar
  • (Las) Campanas: Bells
  • (El) carbón de azúcar o carbón dulce
  • (El) Cava: Cava
  • (La) Cena de fin de año: Year-end dinner
  • (La) Cena de Nochebuena: Chritsmas Eve dinner
  • (La) Comida de Navidad: 
  • (La) Comida de Año Nuevo: New Year’s Eve Dinner
  • (El) Cotillón: New Year’s Eve party or bag of favors

D

  • (La) Decoración navideña: Christmas decoration
  • (El) Día de Año Nuevo: New Year’s Day
  • (El) Día de Los Reyes Magos: Epiphany or the Day of the Three Wisemen
  • (El) Día de Navidad: Christmas Day

E

  • (El) Espíritu navideño: Christmas spirit
  • (La) Estrella de Belén: Star of Bethlehem or Christmas Star

F

  • ¡Felices fiestas!: Season’s greetings!
  • ¡Feliz Navidad!: Happy Christmas!/Merry Christmas!
  • ¡Feliz Año Nuevo!: Happy New Year!
  • ¡Feliz Navidad y Próspero Año Nuevo!: Merry Christmas and a Prosperous / Happy New Year!
  • (La) Flor de Navidad o flor de pascua: Poinsettia
  • (Los) Fuegos artificiales: Firework

G

  • (Las) Galletas de jengibre: Ginger cookies
  • (La) Guirnalda: Wreaths

I

  • (El) Incienso: Incense

J

  • (El) Jamón: Ham

L

  • (La) Lotería de Navidad o “El Gordo”: Spanish Christmas Lottery
  • (Las) Luces de Navidad: Christmas lights

M

  • (El) Mazapán: Marzipan
  • (El) Mercado de Navidad: Christmas market
  • (La) Mirra: Myrrh
  • (La) Misa del Gallo: Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve
  • (El) Muérdago: Mistletoe
  • (El) Muñeco de nieve: Snowman

N

  • (La) Navidad/(Las) Navidades: Christmas
  • (El) Niño Jesús: Baby Jesus
  • (La) Nochebuena: Christmas Eve
  • (La) Nochevieja: New Year’s Eve

O

  • (El) Oro: Gold

P

  • Papá Noel: Santa Claus
  • (El) Pesebre: Manger
  • (Los) Polvorones: Shortbread cookie

R

  • (Los) Regalos de Navidad: Christmas presents
  • (Los) Renos de Papá Noel: Santa Claus’s reindeers
  • (Los) Reyes Magos: Three Wise Men or Three Kings
  • (El) Roscón de Reyes/ (La) Rosca de Reyes: King cake or Three Kings’ cake

S

  • San José: Joseph
  • (La) Sidra: Cider

T

  • (La) Tarjeta de Navidad: Christmas card
  • (El) Turrón: “A southern European nougat confection, typically made of honey, sugar, and egg white, with toasted almonds or other nuts” (Wikipedia)

U

  • (Las) Uvas de la Suerte o Doce Uvas: The twelve grapes of luck or Twelve Grapes is a “Spanish tradition that consists of eating a grape with each clock bell strike at midnight of December 31 to welcome the New Year” (Wikipedia).

V

  • (Las) Vacaciones de Navidad: Christmas holidays
  • (La) Vela: Candle
  • (Los) Villancicos: Christmas carols
  • (La) Virgen María: Mary

Z

  • (La) Zambomba: Hand drum

Spanish Christmas Vocabulary: Your Complete A-Z Guide

Now you know a bit more about the Spanish Christmas traditions and the vocabulary we use during this special period.

Do you celebrate Christmas? If so, how?

If you want to know more, listen to our podcast ¿Cómo es la Navidad en Noruega vs. España?