Countdown to Christmas: Guest Post with … Pauline Barclay

21 Dec

My guest today is Pauline Barclay author of Satchfield Hall, Mangnoila House and Sometimes It Happens. Pauline lives in sunny Lanzarote and in her guest post today shares her experiences of Christmas on the island. Welcome Pauline.

Christmas in the Sun by Pauline Barclay

When I think of Christmas, images of snow scenes, pine Christmas trees decorated with coloured balls, log fires crackling as flames leap up the chimney and streets decked with lights and decorations spring to mind, but living in a sunny climate can be rather different. For a start the temperatures are more likely to give you sunburn rather than frost bite. Here on Lanzarote, where we live, Christmas is not as obvious as in many northern European countries, though each year it becomes a little more festive and commercialised than the previous year. Though not with freezing temperatures!

This year the shops started adding their Christmas goodies as early as November, though what you see in the shops is a long way from what you’d expect to see in the UK. Chocolates are one of the main features in the supermarkets and huge joints of Serrano hams which hang on hooks around the store.

One of the traditions on the island is the planting of hundreds of red poinsettias on roundabouts, verges and in municipal gardens; their vibrant red leaves add a special festive splash to the sunny island. Model nativity scenes are also popular down here, particularly with many hotels creating a Lanzarote style display in their entrance gardens. Eye catching for guests and passers by to stop and admire.

The open air shopping centre in Puerto del Carmen, Biosfera, takes on the full spirit of Christmas with thousands of lights and a huge Christmas tree and through the audio system, traditional and popular Christmas songs play.

The island has many nationalities, residents and visitors who celebrate Christmas differently. For the Germans, Scandinavians and Spanish their Christmas feast is Christmas Eve, for the British it is Christmas Day and for the local Lanzarote people it is a mixture between their own traditional festival on 5th January, The Three Kings and Christmas.

In the Canary’s and across Spain it is the traditional parade of The Three Kings on 5th January, El dia de Reyes as the fiesta day is known. On Lanzarote it is still marked with a cavalcade of camels carrying three kings through numerous towns on the island.  The kings throw sweets and small gifts to children and followers. It is also the time when gifts are exchanged, the children getting most of their toys on this day.  A special cake is also eaten and every bakery on the island will be busy making this cake for El dia de Reyes. The cake, known as the Roscon de Reyes, looks like a large doughnut and is filled with lashings of cream and nearly always includes a small statue of a King. Truly delicious!

The island is also a place where many people arrive for Christmas; some to get away from the traditional Christmas back home, but all to enjoy the weather. Normally at this time of the year it is warm and sunny, beautiful enough to sit on the beach. Last year it was the hottest December for several decades, not only did the turkey roast, but so did everyone else!

Over the years our Christmas has varied, some years we have gone away, others out to a British restaurant and some staying at home with friends, but so far we have always sat out on the terrace eating our traditional Christmas feast. Our Christmas feast is very traditional and these days you can buy most things on the island to make it truly festive.

This is just a little insight in to our Christmas in the sun, but whatever your plans are for your Christmas, I hope it will be filled with happiness, love and friendship. Wishing you and your families a very Merry Christmas.

Thanks Pauline!

You can find out more about Pauline and her novels on her website at: www.paulinebarclay.co.uk and on her blog at: http://paulinembarclay.blogspot.com

4 Responses to “Countdown to Christmas: Guest Post with … Pauline Barclay”

  1. Pauline Barclay 21st December 2011 at 10:08 am #

    Amanda, a big thank you for having me join in your wonderful festive Countdown to Christmas. It is such fun! Merry Christmas xx

  2. Rosalind Adam 21st December 2011 at 3:34 pm #

    It must be fabulous being warm at this time of the year (don’t you ever get cold weather over there?) and it must be fascinating having so many different cultures celebrating in their own way. I especially love the sound of the Roscon de Reyes. They remind me of the donuts that we traditionally eat this time of the year for Chanukah.

  3. carol 21st December 2011 at 4:16 pm #

    Amanda and Pauline,

    Wishing you both a Merry Christmas and a Happy 2012!

    carol

  4. Anne Mackle 21st December 2011 at 6:19 pm #

    Sounds lovely! Better than Christmas in the rain which is what we’re getting here. Merry Christmas when it comes to you both, Amanda and Pauline.

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