Christmas For Members

#Navidad: Towns in the southwestern tip of Spain have a peculiar (and very noisy) way of celebrating Christmas

The Local Spain
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#Navidad: Towns in the southwestern tip of Spain have a peculiar (and very noisy) way of celebrating Christmas
Photo: Cadiztourism/Flickr

Every day in the run up to Christmas, The Local explains the unique history behind Spanish Christmas traditions in our own Advent calendar.


Across Spain you will find locals practising their traditions that are unique to their town or region.

We have already explored the Catalan traditions of the 'caganer' and 'Tio de Nadal' and the 'Basque version of Father Christmas.'

Today we are going to take a look at a custom that only seems to take place in the towns around Tarfia and Algeciras at Spain’s southwesterly toe.

It’s a custom that you will certainly find out about if you happen to be in either of these places on the eve of Epiphany, which is a huge event in Spain because it heralds the arrival of The Kings who in Spain are the ones who bring the gifts.

Known as the ‘Arrastre de Latas’ , the tradition creates a raucous din designed to banish the cloud demon and ensure that the Three Kings (Or Magi/Wise Men) can find their way.

It involves children running through the streets dragging strings of tins and cans and is especially noisy if pulled over the cobblestones of the narrow lanes in the old quarters of town.

Legend has it that this will drive away the Giant of Botafuegos and ensure clear skies for the Kings to navigate their way presumably to ensure delivery of sweets and toys to all the children.

The demon is often represented by an adult dressed in blue.

Once the children have done their job and chased away the skies, the cabalgata takes place, when the Three Kings parade through the streets distributing sweets. 

For more in our special Advent season click on the links below: 


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