The vocabulary of Christmas (Navidad)


Introduction: The principle difference between a Spanish Christmas and the Anglo Saxon version is the importance of the 6th January. In Spain this is when presents are given and the three "magic" kings give the presents not father Christmas. In recent years many families have started to give their children their presents on Chistmas Eve, although this is changing because children have to go to school on the 7th and they don't have time to play with their presents. Most families have a "belén" (nativity scene) on display in their house. Families eat together on Cristmas eve and they often eat a stuffed turkey which has the bones removed which requires the skill of a micro-surgeon to prepare. Christmas is less commercial in Spain and the build up does not start until much later.

Nochebuena Christmas Eve
Día de navidad Christmas Day
Año Nuevo New Year
Nochevieja New Year's Eve
El día de año nuevo New Year's Day
las vacaciones de Navidad the Christmas holidays
las Navidades / la Navidad Yuletide
el Día de Reyes 6th January (the day when presents are traditionally given in Spanish-speaking countries)
la Noche de Reyes Twelfth Night
el Día de los Santos Inocentes 28th December (similar to April Fool's Day)
regalo de navidad Christmas present
adornos de Navidad Christmas decorations
un ramo de Navidad a Christmas wreath
el muérdago mistletoe
el acebo holly
flor de Navidad poinsettia
la comida de Navidad Christmas dinner
una tarjeta de Navidad, un crismas a Chrstmas card
Árbol de navidad Christmas tree
el espumillón tinsel
un calendario de Adviento Advent calendar
un pesebre a crib
la misa del gallo Midnight Mass

un villancico

Christmas carol
adorno (Árbol de navidad) bauble
Baltasar, Gaspar, Melchor Balthasar, Gaspar, Melchior
los Reyes Magos the Three Kings, the Three Wise Men
tomar las uvas to see the New Year in. (in Spain a grape is eaten for each stroke of the clock at 12pm on December 31st. Each grape is supposed to represent one month of the new year)
un auto de Navidad a nativity play
¡Feliz Navidad! / ¡Felices Pascuas! Happy Christmas
¡Felices fiestas! Season's greetings!
¡Feliz Navidad y Próspero Año Nuevo! Merry Christmas and a Prosperous / Happy New Year!
¿Qué te regalaron para Navidad? What did you get for Christmas?
La Navidad está en puertas Christmas is just around the corner
Los preparativos de la Navidad empiezan en octubre The buildup to Christmas starts in October
el espíritu navideño the Christmas spirit
oro gold
incienso frankincense
mirra myrrh
Jerusalén Jerusalem
la cabalgata On 6th January there is a Christmas parade, the principal characters are the "magic kings" who drive around the city on a float and shower the children and people with sweets and other presents.
un belén (Belén = Bethlehem) a nativity scene
José Joseph
la Virgen Mará Mary
el niño Jesús (baby) Jesus
los pastores shepherds
los ángeles angels
un burro a donkey
Papá Noel Father Christmas

un tronco de Navidad a Christmas yule log
un pastel de Navidad a Christmas cake
el pavo turkey
langostinos king prawns
mantecados traditional Christmas sweet made mainly from lard and almonds very similar to a "polvorón"
polvorones a typical Spanish sweet, dry and powdery and made with almonds
una rosca de Reyes / un roscón de Reyes a large, round bun baked for 6th January with candied fruits and things hidden (coins, etc.) inside

turrón blando
turrón duro
turrón de chocolate
a typical Spanish sweet eaten at Christmas
made with ground almonds
hard and nougat-like
made with chocolate and puffed rice
mazapán marzipan
una cesta de Navidad a Christmas hamper
(una copa de) cava (a glass of) Spanish sparkling wine, similar to champagne
el Gordo Massive Christmas lottery which takes place on 22nd December, almost everyone buys a ticket. The results are sang by children as the balls come out of the machine.