Tag Archives: Christmas

Navideña Feria Internacional de las Culturas 2016, Matadero Madrid

Navideña Matadero Madrid SpainMadrid, Spain is just magical in December. At this time of the year, the whole city spruces up, illuminates, and sparkles, what with all the holidays decors, trees, and xmas lights put up in many streets, avenues, and plazas. Weekends during this month means crowded shops and malls, plazas and streets overflowing with people, and restaurants and cafes filled to the brim.

Likewise, you can expect many Yuletide-related activities and events to happen, many of which would culminate on Christmas day, or by the end on the year, or at the latest, on the Feast of the Three Kings.

Madrid, Spain: Ciudad de Las Ferias de Navidid

Come Christmastime, Madrid becomes the city of fairs, and all things related to the merry season.

In instance, you can treat yourself to an interesting “feria” (especially if you’re an antiquarian) called the Almoneda at IFEMA Feria de Madrid which happens twice a year. The December fair, which is near Camp Naciones Station, offers an impressive display of antique items, paintings and other art pieces, and rare collectibles. The fair promotes its items as holiday gifts. Entrance to the Almoneda is free.

Another ongoing fair in Madrid is the Feria Mercado de Artesania de la Comunidad de Madrid at Plaza de España. It’s a free-entrance fair that started last December 10, 2016 and will end in January 5, 2017. The event is all about craftman and artisan items originating not only from the Communidad de Madrid but other autonomous Spanish regions. The fair is right within the area of Plaza de Espana, and so, it’s very accessible. The best way to get there is via the Metro (Lineas 3 and 10), where you get off at Plaza de Espana Station.

Navideña Feria Internacional de las Culturas at Matadero, Madrid

imageKnown as one of Madrid’s main centers for the culture and arts, Matadero, Madrid at Barrio Legazpi acts as the host of this year’s Navideña Feria Internacional de las Culturas. (Christmas International Cultural Fair). Various exciting and fun activities are scheduled to happen on the different facilities at the center and are meant for everyone of all ages to experience and enjoy this season.

Thru Navideña, Matadero Madrid gives Madrilenos and tourists the chance to make the most of the holiday season and enjoy a wide variety of entertaining activities such as movies, theater plays, exhibitions, workshops for kids, readings, art workshops, and so much more.

International Bazaar at Plaza de Matadero

Highly-awaited at the Navidena is the bazaar that involves the participation of the majority of embassies in Spain. All are assigned stands or kiosks that effectively serve as a platform where they can present and promote their country in the best way possible. I believe this is one of the most attended and liveiest fairs in the city because of the large number of participants to the event, which is more or less 75 countries.

Other Fun-Filled Navidena Activities

Apart from being able to enjoy roaming around a unique bazaar, have a taste and experience of various foods and cultural traditions from 75 or so countries, people are afforded various other fun activities in the event.

Every day, from december 15 to the 23th, different performances and events are scheduled to happen; such as cooking demos, film showing, concerts, cultural and traditional dances, plays, and more food tasting. The children are treated to story-telling, teatro infantil, anime cartoons, and so much more.

Just some of the many activities and the sites where they happen are as follows: the BID16 exhibition, a Latin show of modern designs, at Central de Diseno; a collective exhibit called El Ranchito-Rusia at Nave 16; toddler and children’s activity workshops at Casa del Lector; and engaging films to be shown throughout the duration of the feria at Cinetaca.

As promised by the event organizers, the event is meant to make the people understand and appreciate Christmas more. And as the current site of the event, Matadero Madrid welcomes everyone to witness and experience all performances, activities, and events, all of which will focus on “La Navidad”.

For a complete list of activities and corresponding schedules, you may refer to the Navidena Feria’s Official Website.

imageThe kiosks of the embassies are located at the Plaza Matadero, the area in front of the Nave 16

imageDay one at Matadero: 6 in the afternoon, yet only a few visitors roam the area — it must be the bad weather

imageMany children’s activities such as storytelling, storytelling and various workshops are held at the Casa del Lector

imageOnce the Yuletide decors were lit, this helped liven up the Yuletide spirit at the Plaza Matadero

imageThe kiosks of Israel and Finland. Navideña is aptly called “cultural” because of the participation of various countries

Navideña Feria Matadero Madrid Philippine Embassy Big smiles from the staff and officers of the Philippine Embassy to Madrid as they gamely pose for the camera

navideña feria, Madrid spainColombia keeps a jeep filled with sacks of coffee beans near its kiosk — one of the impressive displays at the Navidena

String lights Navideña Matadero MadridThe evening at the fair made brighter and more Christmassy by the holiday string lights

imageCineteca schedules excellent quality films in time for the Christmas fair

imageThe crowd intently watch a martial arts exhibition at Plaza Matadero, Day 2 of La Navidena

imageExhibition called BID16 is ongoing at Central de Diseño, showcasing Latino modern designs

imageSunflowers, stems and all drape from the ceiling of one of the halls, a Basurama exhibit that started last September and is still ongoing to become a part of the fair. The site was once a freezer and storage, a huge one at that; this was  when the place was still a slaughterhouse

Do come with your family and kids while the event is still on. With a great variety of fun and exciting things to see and do in Navidena Fair, it will surely make your Christmas this year a lot more special.

Name of activity: Navideña Feria Internacional de las Culturas

Duration: From December 15, 2016 to December 23, 2106

Time open to the public: 12PM to 9PM

Site of Activity: Matadero, Madrid (Ride  the Metro, Linea Circular and get off at Legazpi)

Entrance: Free


Ya es Navidad: Madrid’s Starting to Look Like Christmas

The happiest and most awaited month of the year has started, and so I deemed it best that my first post for December is light but nonetheless special. Let’s make it filled with lots of pictures of fun and Christmassy colors. Isn’t it obvious that the Yuletide air already pervades around? The season of hope and inspiration is definitely upon us.

Indeed, it is apparent that Madrid is fast turning into a Yuletide paradise; there’s just no stopping establishments from sprucing up their buildings – inside and out – with tons of exciting Xmas displays. Streets, side streets and avenues are one by one being adorned with multi-colored lights. Plazas and gloriettas, big and small, boast of giant, glowing Yuletide trees of yellow, red, and blue.

And so for this post, time again for me to get my phone cam busy and capture photos of Christmas scenes from around the city, where possible.

imageEasily, Puerta del Sol is one of the most crowded spots in Madrid during the holiday season. The famous square’s Xmas tree this year glimmers with its blue lights, instead of yellow from the past few years
imageYuletide decors of life sized and gigantic toys and cartoon characters are displayed in the upper facade of El Corte Ingles

Cibeles, Alcala, Puerta del Sol, Atocha — it’s a given that these neighborhoods are some of the most colorful spots in the city. I expect to have pictures of these places draped in full christmas display, as I alway had in previous years.

Of course, I’ll explore Madrid further — I am only too sure to find more neighborhoods that are suited up, proud that they’re part of this year’s Yuletide revelry.

Here is some initial photos showing how dazzling and enchanting Madrid can be during the Christmas season. I’ll leave this as an open post, which means I will be posting more from time to time, as more places become spruced up for the Yuletide season.

imageInstead of multi-colored lighting, the Palacio de Cibeles is bathe in red this time
imagePlaza Mayor is a venue for many different cultural activities during the Yuletide season. December 1 showcases a night filled with Rumanian festivities at the square
imageBrightly-lit holiday house at Azca, Paseo de Castellana, Madrid
imageMore or less a dozen Christmas tree stand in the plaza in front of Picasso Building
imageimageStores selling traditional Yuletide goodies such as asadas castañas and maize (roasted chestnuts and corn) are found in strategic corners of the city. The store in the first picture above stands in front of the Nuevos Ministerios Metro Entrance, the second is in the corner of Calle de Bravo Murillo and Paseo de la Castellana. Prices of castañas vary from 2 to 3 euros for a dozen.imageKids have a grand time ice skating at Plaza del Colon
imageNeighborhood shops and downtown boutiques have started filling their shelves with holiday merchandize items. The lower part of the collage is a photo of Xmas trees sold at a Chinese variety store, while the upper half shows multicolored decor balls from Tiger, a popular novelty gift shop.
imageYou know Christmas is just around the corner with the sprouting of more flower stands and kiosks around the city, like this one at the corner of Calle del Postigo de San Martin.

imagePlaza Remonta in Bravo Murillo is no Plaza Mayor. It’s like many other typical town squares in Madrid; quiet and dimly lit at night. No matter, this plaza is one with the season by putting up two Christmas trees in its midst — modest but helpful nonetheless in illuminating the place come nighttime, a delight to the kids at play.
imageThe Nativity and other scenes that depict the birth and early years of the Child Jesus, displayed at Parroquia de San Antonio, Bravo Murillo and Cuatro Caminos
imageChristmas trees brightly shine at night as they surround the Artichoke fountain replica at the roundabout or the Glorieta de Atocha

Christmas at Plaza Mayor, MadridBusiness is brisk at the Plaza Mayor, with Christmas lights and decors as best sellers year after year
imageMadrid, Spain, Calle Bailen, carouselCarousels and similar fun rides and attractions are a common sight around the city. The first carousel is found in Plaza de Sta cruz, along Calle Atocha, the second is located at Calle Bailen, near Palacio Real

imageEl Corte Ingles leaves no stone unturned when it comes to the display of Christmas decors. Its branch along Paseo de la Castellana has already begun showing Yulletide theme visual messages in its large electronic display

imageThe red Christmas tree now stands beside the yellow fountain in Paseo de la Castellana and Calle Vitrivio, livening up the area in time for the merry season

imagePlaza de Espana has put up its own Christmas Tree, which stands beside the square’s famous oblong-shaped fountain and near Calle Gran Via

Madrid, Spain, Christmas, Gran ViaGirl pals pose for the camera with their sweet smiles, reindeer antlers headband, red noses, and all.

imageTerrace restaurants install their outdoor heaters to warm  up the cool evening ambiance, like this one near Puerta de Alcala

imageChristmas is in the air, especially in Plaza del Callao where to be found in its midst is an adorable bright-yellow Xmas tree and the Tienda de la Navidad

imagePlaza Callao’s Tienda de Nativid sells Yuletide trees, bells, lights, decors, and everything else that’s Christmas
imageCalle Preciosa spruces up in time for the holidays
imageVarious attractive, Yuletide-themed pastelerias and other sweet goodies are available at La Mallorquina, a popular bakeshoop located in a strategic spot in Plaza del Sol
imageFancy holiday lights dangles along the length of Arenal, providing sufficient illumination as pedestrians traverse through the street, and perhaps towards San Gines Church to hear the evening mass, or even further down to Palacio Real

imageThe city has already installed the holiday lights, which I believe are the same ones for the last couple of years, along Calle de Alcala. In the background is the Palacio del Cibeles
imageIn the same manner as that of the Cibeles Palace, the Ayuntamiento building in Plaza del Sol is also bathe in red, as if to signify the solemnity of the place while still actve in the celebration of the festive occasion
imagePhoto of the Puerta del Sol Xmas tree in close range

Every year, the agency Loterias y Apuestas del Estado come up with a video advertisement promoting the Christmas lottery draw in December, with this year’s draw scheduled to happen on the 21th. 2016 Anuncio Loteria de Navidad’s theme is El Mejor Premio es Compartirlo, roughly translated as “The best prize is Sharing.” And like the previous ones, it proves to be a tearjerker. Be ready with your hankie as you watch this heartwarming Christmas lottery ad.

Christmas 2015 in Madrid

Christmas is just around the corner. A week from now, Spain and the rest of the world will again be commemorating the birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ. In my case, this will be my second Christmas in Madrid. And as in the previous year, it’s all bright, colorful and Christmassy everywhere I look, with the sentiments of warmth, love and happiness pervading the air around. There’s no doubt that Madrilenos love Christmas and are just all out when it comes to celebrating this festive season, such as looking forward to lots of parties, attending occasions of family get together and reunions, and gift-giving.

For posterity, I will again post a number of Christmas scenes from various places in Madrid – Plaza del Sol, El Corte Ingles in Calle de Castellana, Calle de Alcala, and Cibeles. I wish that this particular post will somehow send out the spirit of the Yuletide Season, even if in its small and humble way. Feliz Navidad a todos! image Colorful lanterns hang along the length of the the street of Alcala, which starts from Plaza de Independencia to Plaza de Cibeles

image Formerly known as the Palacio de Communicaciones, the Palacio de Cibeles lords over everything else within the whole area of the Plaza de Cibeles. During Christmas, it serves as the centerpiece of the vicinity, being the most intricately lighted and decorated edifice in tune with the Yuletide season.

image Anos Luz at Calle de Alcala 111, a seller of modern lighting fixtures and systems puts up a beautiful display that’s appropriate for the season.

image As soon as December starts, you will definitely not miss this yellow light-decked Christmas Tree as it becomes the center of attraction at Puerta del Sol. It is actually the same tree that they put up at at plaza last year, with the same decor, lighting, and all. Still, it never fails to buoy up the Yuletide spirit in everyone. This tree alone makes Sol – hands down – the most Christmassy in all of Madrid.

imageEl Corte Ingles, one of Spain’s premier shops, takes the season seriously with its gargantuan board showing moving Xmas displays for everyone, customers and pedestrians, to see and appreciate.

Bidding Madrid Christmas Goodbye

Have you ever wished you had that extra space in your apartment, so that after placing your Christmas tree atop a platform cart – with lights, balls, star, and trimmings still in – you just slide everything inside it? I’m certain that not a few on Earth have been doing this all along.

I am not being mean-spirited. I am not even lazy to undo the decorations.

The thing is, I have trouble with the holidays ending. It’s like doing away with the best days of the year. The child in me does not want it to end. To this stubborn child, Christmastime means joy, fun, adventure, play, and he doesn’t want to part with all this.

As a grownup, I love the season because it lifts up my spirit. And now that I had the chance to witness and experience it in Madrid for the first time, I have to say that I enjoyed it wholly. It’s low-key compared to Manila’s shameless Christmas extravaganza, but it’s fascinating, nonetheless.

You should see Christmas in Madrid at night as beautiful lights are not wanting. Everywhere you look is a sight to behold, and something for your eyes to feast on. Needless to say, Madrid’s illumination at this time of the year is captivating in its own way.

The trees draped in bluish white lights lining up the paseos and calles, the giant digital display of El Corte Ingles, the gargantuan trees of sparkling yellow, blue, or red hue that litter the plazas of Madrid – all are enthralling. You will be spellbound by these lights even if subtly and help you imbibe that Yuletide feeling.

Up to this point, I still consider Madrid as a strange land, and the Spanish language as a saccharine, romantic music that I have yet to play beautifully. To put it simply, everyday is a big struggle.

Fortunately, being in Madrid at the time when the city is in the midst of the festivities buoys me up and helps me sustain my desire to stay – despite all odds.

Yuletide here has given me hope and emboldened me to look forward to the new year with great anticipation. Definitely, I’ll celebrate Christmas again in Madrid next year.

Here are some more photos (of Alcala and Cibeles places) to remember Madrid Christmas 2014 by:

Imposing buildings at night. Metropolitan, along Calle de Alcala and Rolex Building at Gran Via, as viewed from Calle de Alcala
Imposing buildings at night. Metropolitan, and Rolex Building at Gran Via, as viewed from Calle de Alcala
Banco de Espana
Banco de Espana
Palacio de Cibeles is a grand spectacle during evenings of Christmas 2014. Location, Plaza de Cibeles, Madrid
Palacio de Cibeles, a Christmas spectacle. Standing at Plaza de Cibeles, it easily dwarfs other edifices around the vicinity. I can compare its grandeur to that of Paris’ Notre Dame.
Chariot of Cibele, major landmark at the Plaza de Cibeles
Chariot of Cibele, major landmark at the Plaza de Cibeles. In the middle of the Plaza is the fountain also named Cybele, one of the city’s most important symbols.
Don't you wish it's always Christmas in Madrid? Portion of Calle de Alcala that connects Plaza de Cibeles and Plaza de la Independencia
Don’t you wish it’s always Christmas in Madrid? Portion of Calle de Alcala that connects Plaza de Cibeles and Plaza de la Independencia
Puerta de Alcala stands in the middle of Plaza de la Independencia. Madrid, Spain
Located in the midst of the Plaza de la Independencia, Independence Square, is the Puerta de Alcala. An architectural masterpiece, the structure evokes neoclassical art, and is popular for its five arches. One of the Symbolic gateways to the City of Madrid, Puerte de Alcala boasts of equal, if not greater, significance to the Palacio de Cibeles.
Puerta de Alcala as seen from Retiro Park, at the southern portion of the Plaza de la Independencia
Puerta de Alcala as seen from Retiro Park, at the southern portion of the Plaza de la Independencia

Madrid After Christmas

It's the 26th, and the spirit of the Yuletide Season is very much in the air in Madrid even if Christmas has already passed.

Everyone is not ready to let the festive mood within them disappear. Decors all around the city, at homes and in the streets, avenues, and plazas, are still up and will not be removed until January 6th.

Madrid is Christmas Land 'til Feast of the Three Kings

For a few days more (10 days to be exact), Madrid continues to be a magical place come night time as Christmas trees and lighting decors brightly illuminate the city.

Speaking of Jaunary 6, it is when Spain commemorates the Feast of the Three Kings or Epiphany, and also the date when Christmas officially ends.

Dia de los Reyes, as how they call it in Spanish, is the Spaniards' The Little Christmas. Gift giving is done on this occasion as a tradition, instead of Christmas Eve or Day.

I want my Roscon (and the good luck that it brings)

Another popular tradition during The Three Kings is the eating of sugar-coated Roscon, a delicacy similar to a doughnut, only much larger.

Inside every Roscon is a toy, most likely a little Nino Jesus. Everyone partakes a slice, and the one who gets the toy enjoys good luck and blessings for one whole year.

Hail to Kings Gaspar, Melchor, and Baltazar

Likewise, I can't wait to catch candies that will be thrown to the crowd by people from the Municipalidad as they pass by Calle Principe de Vergara.

The parade symbolizes the arrival of the Three Kings and bringing of their gifts.

This candy-throwing event is done in many places in Spain during Dia de los Reyes.

My first Christmas in Madrid made me realize that the city vigorously celebrates the Season, much like how we celebrate it back home. I look forward to enjoying the same joyous experience again next year.

Here are some photos of beautiful sights and scenes from Madrid after Christmas. Feliz Navidad!

Colorful lights adorn this building at Plaza Puerta del Sol, Madrid
Christmas lights in the form of giant snow flakes adorn the facade of El Corte Ingles building at Plaza Puerta del Sol, Madrid

Christmas Lights shaped in circle mesmerize passers-by at Calle de la Montera
Yuletide lights mesmerize passers-by at Calle de la Montera
Blue Christmas Tree at Calle de la Montera, in front of Gran Via
Blue Christmas Tree at Calle de la Montera, in front of Gran Via
Beautiful lighting decors of red and blue brighten up the length of Calle de la Montera
Christmas lights of red and blue brighten up the length of Calle de Fuencarral
Gargantuan neon sign display at El Corte Ingles, Nuevos Ministerios
Gargantuan digital sign display at El Corte Ingles, Nuevos Ministerios

Chandelier lighting decors send warmth and illumination throughout wintry Calle de Goya, in Salamanca
Chandelier lighting decors send warmth and illumination throughout wintry Calle de Goya, in Salamanca

Calle Velazquez, Madrid
Calle Velazquez boasts of truly attractive lighting that highlight the festive season, in Distrito Salamanca

Goya, Madrid
Yuletide gives this establishment good reason to spruce up its facade with draping rope lights, located along Calle de Goya
Feliz Navidad sign welcomes pedestrians as they walk through kiosks that line both sides of the passageway beside Nuevos Ministerios Metro Station and going to El Corte Ingles, Plaza Castellana.
Feliz Navidad sign welcomes pedestrians as they walk through a passageway with kiosks on both sides. Beside Nuevos Ministerios Metro Station, fronting Paseo de la Castellana
A mini recreation fun land is set up to accommodate kids wanting to enjoy fun rides. At the back of El Corte Ingles
A mini-recreation and play center is set up in the grounds of El Corte Ingles to accommodate kids wanting to enjoy fun rides
Bluish white Yuletide Lighting decors shine down upon the busy street of Bravo Murillo
Bluish white lighting decors radiate warmth and illumination upon the busy street of Bravo Murillo
Chamartin Mercado, Madrid's most beautiful market (for me, at least) made more beautiful with it bright green Christmas tree and trimmings. Along Calle Colombia
Chamartin Mercado, Madrid's most beautiful market (for me, at least), is made even more charming with its bright green Christmas tree and trimmings, along Calle Colombia
Imposing Christmas tree complements the Paseo de la Castellana fountain near Nuevos Ministerios. What a site to behold!
Imposing Christmas tree complements the spectacular Paseo de la Castellana fountain near Nuevos Ministerios. Such a site to behold!
This scene at Paseo de la Castellano reminds of Champs Elysees during Christmastime
This scene at Paseo de la Castellano reminds me of Paris' Les Champs Elysees during Christmastime

Merry Christmas everyone, from Let's Talk Madrid!