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What do Catalans eat for Christmas?

Christmas time is not only about holidays, nativity scenes, lottery and Christmas carols in Catalonia. One of the highlights of this time is the traditional never-ending family gatherings in which a lunch can easily finish when half of Europe is already having dinner. Several dishes are most likely to be found in Catalan homes on these days.

Christmas Day

Meat and vegetable broth is the top dish for December 25. Large pasta shells are also typically found in this traditional dish. After the broth, some special meat dish is coming, which is usually some bird, including rooster, chicken and duck. A nibble including sausages usually precedes the broth, and as a dessert, nougat, shortbread cookies and neules, some other kind of biscuits.

Boxing Day

Despite so much eating on December 25, a new family lunch is also typical in the following day, Sant Esteve or Saint Stephen, which is a bank holiday in the country. As people have already cooked enough, the most popular lunch on December 26 is the leftovers of the day before. But in style. The meat left from Christmas Day becomes handmade cannelloni in several households. In fact, Catalans will have eaten more than 4 million cannelloni this Christmas, according to the Catalan Federation of Butchers.

New Year’s

Some families also gather for New Year’s Day, although some others rather not do it as the effects of the New Year’s Eve celebrations are sometimes too much to be able to sit down at a table for several hours the day after. Anyway, what most Catalans certainly do at midnight is eating twelve grapes as the bells chime twelve times. 

Increase in Christmas food sales

Mercabarna's fish and seafood wholesalers expect to an increase of approximately 2% in Christmas sales. Specifically, they calculate to sell some 7,200 tons of fish and seafood and 90,000 tons of fruits and vegetables.

According to the president of the Fish Wholesalers Association, Leandro Serra, this increase is due to some recovery of the domestic market and to the fact that this year both Christmas’ Day and New Year’s Day are on Monday.

Sant Egidi lunch

Some people have no home where to have lunch on December 25. That is why the community of Sant Egidi, in Barcelona, organizes a Christmas lunch. This year, around 1,300 people took part in the lunch.

Food drive

Several initiatives such as this one need some food to be possible. Catalonia’s holiday food drive, the Gran Recapte, was held on December 1 and 2 with a record 27,000 volunteers. It began right as markets and supermarkets opened their doors to shoppers, with 2,700 drop-off points throughout the country. More than 4,000 tons of food were collected in two days. 


26 December 2017 11:50 AM


ACN | Barcelona


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  • Image of some cannelloni (by Josep Ramon Torné)