Ibiza in January can be very cold at night, due to the clear blue skies we enjoy during the day! Pavement cafes are full of sunseekers enjoying the winter mode during the day, the island is very sociable and everyone meets to try catch up with friends. January sees local Saints day celebrations in San Antonio, and all ages dress up and enjoy the islands own non-clubbing FLOWER POWER night in the town centre, in a huge marquis, erected on the seafront for the occasion! Restaurants open with staff dressed in their own Flower Power attire, and musicians and groups on the island all come out to create a unique atmosphere! This has taken off so much in recent years that people from across the globe come out for the weekend to enjoy this party!
On the evening of the 5th January, towns and villages all over Spain, and Ibiza too, welcome the Three Kings ( wise men) to their town or village with much fanfare and magic! In Ibiza town, the largest celebration on the island, they are welcomed in at the port of Ibiza town by boat, with fireworks and music from the boat. The port is crowded with children sat on adults shoulders and screaming out the name of their favoured King, or just eyes wide aghast in the spectacle and magical atmosphere of it all!
The Mayor of the Town and various dignitaries are waiting to welcome the Kings as they disembark onto a red carpet, and then board each one their own "float", beautifully decorated, each one a different themed colour to go with their robes, and the procession begins. The streets are lined with people of all ages from all walks of life, and each "float" passes slowly by with a King on, waving to the crowds and throwing sweets to the crowds. It is not uncommon to see even the older people scrabbling on the streets to collect the uncaught thrown sweets ( usually given onto children but not always!). each float has its own theme and colour and music, and is led by a team of dancers, page boys or girls with flame torches, and each tries to outdo the other every year with its calibre!
Traditionally, the Kings are magic and whilst you are out watching them , they deliver your presents to your home! IF you have been good. So when you go home the presents are there ( usually a clever adult has sneaked off from the parade and got them out of the cupboard!).If you have been naughty, there is a small bag of coal waiting for you, but nowadays its sold at the checkouts of shops ( to remind you to be good?) for about a month before, and it is a bag of cinder toffee anyway!
Ibiza Christmas time
The Ibicencos traditionally all gather together family on Christmas Eve ( called the Nochebuena, or the Good Night) and feast all together with a heavy meal followed by turron ( Spanish nougat, sold in various forms) and often the thick “Salsa de Nadal” (traditional Ibicenco Christmas sauce made with ground almonds,, savoury meat stock and lots of sugar and cinnamon, dunked into sweet soft bread).
Christmas Day itself is a quieter affair, with some families choosing to give out a main gift, or there is a long wait until their traditional “Reyes” day, ( the day of the Kings), which is Epiphany, on the 6th January, see future blogs coming shortly! The children often get a smaller gift for the Kings visit, as they return to their schools a day or so later, so their main gift being given on Christmas Day avoids a long wait then straight back to school and no time to enjoy the gift!
The Christmas Tree is a newly introduced tradition over recent years, adopted from other countries in Europe.
As you can imagine, Ibiza island knows how to enjoy a good party! But NOT in the styles to maybe you would think…
Just as Christmas time is for families gathering together, traditionally New Years Eve is for gathering together with friends to celebrate in oh so many ways…
Most shops and businesses are open for business in the morning only, to have time for a true siesta in the afternoon, for energy and preparations for a late night…….
By far the most popular is to prepare a late and large festive feast, usually fish or seafood based, everyone gets on their best and large party gear for the occasion!
The TV is on to watch the chimes LIVE at midnight from Puerta del Sol square in Madrid, Spain’s capital. At each strike of the clock at midnight, each person has to swallow whole ( no chewing as no time between chimes!) a grape ( hopefully pre-peeled and de-seeded in advance!) and eat all 12 like this, in time with each chime, for the coming years 12 months good luck!!!! Easier said than done, and many say the chimes get faster every year!?
Then after much laughter when its over, the licquers come to the table, and those who have any energy go out to ring in the New Year to family and other friends, or pop into one of the many nightspots open for a drink and a dance. Some of the big name clubs open their doors after midnight for all ages to come in and enjoy the beginning of a New Year too!
The early (or late?) hours of the first morning of the year see bars re-open at 0200 hrs and serving the popular chocolate and churros for those who need to re-fuel!
Needless to say, not much happens New Years Day! Traditionally the “cobwebs are blown away” and people can be seen out walking their dogs, strolling, jogging, enjoying pavement cafes etc.
They have until the night of the 5th January to prepare for their next Fiesta, the visit at night of the Three Kings bearing gifts, …..their Christmas!