Christmas in Al Ándalus

Thinking on Christmas is to remember our family at home singing Christmas songs. However, to know the tradition from other city is an experience and to have the opportunity to know Cordovan Christmas is something unique. So, you should come to Cordova at least once in your life!

Christmas in Cordova is very different and special. You will not see snow, chimneys or candy canes. You will find other traditional things such as decorated lamps, anisette, mantecados, shortbread cookies or roasted almonds cakes typical from Andalucia, South Spain. We will tell you more about Christmas days in our city and you will not hesitate to visit it.

Christmas’ origin in December is since the IV c. in Council of Nicea. Although, it was not until the VI c. that we find the consolidation of a Mozarab (Christians in Arabic territory, Al-Andalus) ritual from which we have many traditional aspects.

Mozarabs in Al-Andalus could celebrate their religious days after paying taxes. There were three important religious days: Saint John, New Year and y ´ Îd al- milâd (Christmas in Arabic) which are celebrated the same days as nowadays.

We do not know a lot about this last festivity, but Historians say that those families used to decorate their houses and streets which were full of stands with sweets, dates, figs, oranges, pine nuts and sugar cans. A lot of flavours that we can find anywhere. Families used to exchange presents with their relatives.

The Historian al-Maqqari tells us a poem about the costume of New Year, which consisted on cities made of pastries decorated with figures and scenes. It is curious, isn’t it?

In Cordova you can find our Concurso de Belenes (a competition of Nativity scenes at home). In 2018 there was a Belén in the town center, Tendillas square; it was set on the Mosque of Cordova.

You will also hear villancicos rocieros, Christmas songs with flamenco to make us happier.

On the other hand, in Cordova there is something unique in those days… Our Patios open some days from the 18th of December with Christmas decoration. Instead of hundreds of geraniums you can see also poinsettias, typical flowers for Christmas. It starts with a competition of cakes and pastries, which is a combination of traditional flavours of Cordova such as olive oil, honey, orange and almond.

Finally, you can try anisette La Cordobesa made in Cordova and pastel cordobés, typical cake made of cider and also turrolate.