Santa Maria Cathedral, Palma de Mallorca

Portuguese Christmas Traditions

Lisbon, ChristmasChristmas is by far my favourite time of the year, so you can imagine how much I have to say about it!

As it happens in so many other countries around the world, Portugal becomes magical at this time of the year. All the cities are full of lights, people are all excited (despite the relative cold weather) and you can listen to Christmas songs everywhere! If you want to visit Portugal during Christmas time, here are some tips of the best places to go:

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German Christmas and New Year

German XmasAs we get closer to Christmas the conversation in our office keeps coming back to how we each celebrate over the festive season and the family traditions we have.  We are very lucky here to be able to work in an office with so much contact with different nationalities. It’s always nice to hear about Christmas elsewhere, but it’s even nicer to be able to experience Christmas fully immersed a different country!

Below you can read about how Dominik, our German translator, spends Christmas and New Year:

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Christmas in the Netherlands

Christmas in the Netherlands is a lot like in many other countries, with the traditional Christmas tree, presents, many lights everywhere and nativity scenes. It’s a religious holiday for many, so people often go to church on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day for a late evening mass. Something that’s a bit different from many other countries in the world is that the 26th of December is ‘Second Christmas Day’.

The good thing about having two whole Christmas days is that you can spend one day with one side of the family and one day with the other side of the family, which is what we like to do every year. We usually have a big lunch and/or a big evening meal on both days, with Christmas presents in the time in between.

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An Italian Christmas

Continuing our blog theme this week with Christmas traditions from different countries, Elisa tells us all about Christmas in Italy! With a special Christmas course in Sorrento or even a New Year course in Salerno, it’s certainly possible to experience these special traditions whilst taking a language course in Italy!

December is here, one of the most eagerly anticipated moments of the year in every country. Here are some interesting Christmas and New Year traditions from my country, Italy!

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Christmas in England

Nottingham XmasChristmas is my very favourite time of the year and anyone I work with will tell you that they will be driven mad throughout December with demands to play Christmas music in the office! I love talking about Christmas and today I would like to tell you about some Christmas traditions in England.

Christmas is the biggest holiday we celebrate in England and one of only 2 days in the year when all the shops close completely and you can enjoy time with your family without other distractions.

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Spanish Christmas traditions

Although Christmas starts on the 24th for most families, there are some Spanish pre-Christmas traditions. The most important is the Spanish Christmas Lottery, known as  ‘el Gordo’ (the fat one) which is held on the 22nd December and is the biggest lottery worldwide. Apart from that, you usually watch ‘La Gran Familia’, a movie that is on TV every single year.

The night of the 24th is called Nochebuena. Religious people go to the church on the 24th to the ‘Misa del Gallo’ (something similar to midnight mass), but most of the families simply reunite in order to have a huge dinner (and eat way more than is recommended). Although this ‘feast’ may vary, it usually includes some appetizers (mainly Jamón Serrano), seafood, soups, lamb and a typical Christmas dessert (turrón and/or polvorones).

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Spend Christmas or New Year abroad!

Whether you want to visit a typical German Christmas market, learn how to prepare a traditional Italian festive feast with a host ‘mamma’, or just lie on the beach and relax in the Canaries, Apple Languages can arrange it all for you this winter!

Many of our schools stay open over the Christmas and New Year period. Some schools, such as our schools in Berlin, Tenerife and Naples offer language lessons, accommodation and daily Christmas/New Year excursions and activities. Other schools, such as Madrid, St Anne and Kitzbuhel, stay open over Christmas/New Year (just closing for bank holidays), offering language courses and accommodation throughout the period, but no specific Christmas/New Year activities.

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