christmas: colegio-style.

24 Dec

Thursday, December 23rd marked the end of the first trimester at my school, Colegio Leopoldo Calvo-Sotelo. I am not joking around when I say that Spain does not mess around for Christmas – the portas de Belén (nativity scenes) are everywhere, the city center has been decked out in lavish Christmas lights (and apparently the city had to cut down due to the ever-mentioned crisis that has affected the country), and my school was no different. I arrived at school at 9 am like usual, and witnessed every 5-year-old, 1st, and 2nd grader in full Santa Claus regalia. The first graders performed some weird Enya song for their parents, and the 2nd graders sang a song in Spanish with tambourines and then sang The 12 Days of Christmas which we had been practicing for a couple of weeks. All of this excitement occurred in the first half hour – parents ran from class to class trying to see all of their children of various ages (in typical Spanish fashion, all of the performances occurred at the same time).

All of the first graders singing. So cute.

From left to right: Guillermo, Paula, Pablo, Elena, and Hugo.

12 Days of Christmas as performed by the 2nd graders. They all LOVE the "5 Gold Rings" line.

Another interesting thing about Spain is that Santa Claus is less of a big deal than it is in the U.S. (even though you wouldn’t get that idea by this post). Instead, the “Reyes Magos” (Three Kings) are more important and more traditionally Spanish. At my school, the 4-year-olds all dressed up as the reyes, and each class visited one of the reyes, gave him a card, and got a gift in return. Most of the kids asked me “es un rey de mentira o de verdad?” (Is it a fake king or a real one?) It was really cool to witness the different Christmas traditions and the kids’ excitement was adorable.

The "rey" and some 5 year olds.

two of my favorite 4-year-olds, Pablo and Carlos

The kids went home at 12:30, and after the teachers finished up their odds and ends (including paying me for the entire month in a fat wad of cash…typical Spain yet again), we all went to a nearby restaurant for drinks and a couple of tapas, before we returned to the school for a delicious lunch cooked by the chef. We feasted (literally) on chiles rellenos, super tender tri-tip, and a potato dish, as well as varying types of cream pies and other pastries.

I left the colegio at 4:15 super full and excited for Christmas break – I kept telling the teachers how much more fun Christmas was at school than it was in the States, partially because in public schools a religious figure could never show up and hand out presents, but it was really cool to see how into Christmas everyone got.

I hope everyone is having a nice Christmas Eve so far!

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