January 3, 2009 - Posted by Erin in Traditions, Trips to the US

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I can’t even put into words how nice it was to be home for the holidays. I mean look at those darling kids in the pictures above! They are growing too fast! They are my cousin Jen’s children, Marley and Donovan. So cute!

I made the trip back to Madrid, arriving last Monday. It was definitely hard to return after two wonderful weeks at home. I have started to get back into the swing of things though. I only hope I can return home again very soon.

The holiday celebrations here are still far from over. Christmas was just a preview of New Year’s and then Three Kings Day. New Year’s was spent at Jacob’s parents’ house, as is tradition. It entailed a big dinner as usual – aperitivos including cheese and my favorite, his mom’s tortilla! Then for dinner we had salad, fish and potatoes (which I suppose could be considered relatively light compared to the usual multi-course meals here). All very delicious! Then at midnight we all sat by the TV with our grapes prepared – grapes? Say what? Yeah, grapes. At the strike of midnight everyone eats 12 grapes consecutively with each chime of the clock in Puerta del Sol (the Time Square of Madrid). It’s one big race to consume your grapes and at the same time try to distract those around you. The grape eating on New Year’s Eve is a national tradition here in Spain. Wikipedia says that the “tradition has its origins in 1909, when grape growers in Alicante thought of it as a way to cut down on the large production surplus they had had that year.”

Now we just await the final holiday celebration of Three Kings Day, or Los Reyes Magos, which falls on January 6th of every year. That day we will be heading to Jacob’s parents house again where the Three Kings will have left gifts for us by each of our shoes. Sounds a bit strange, I know, but then again I suppose a fat man sneaking in your house through your chimney and leaving gifts in a sock while eating your cookies sounds a bit strange too ;). Regardless, Santa and the Three Kings all have the same opinion on what to leave naughty boys and girls – coal!

Tomorrow we’ll be heading outside of Madrid about an hour away to visit a monastery called El Paular. I am still eager to discover new places here, I seem to never tire of it!

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday and wish you all a very happy new year!

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