Madrid is transformed during the festive season into a rainbow of Christmas lights, a mass of carols singers, nativity scenes and theatrical performances. Some of the most famous nativity scenes are the Belén Napolitano which was made in the 18th century. Other traditional events are the Christmas market and outdoor ice rinks.

Christmas Eve is celebrated with a fireworks display at Plaza Cibeles and New Year’s Eve is celebrated at Plaza de la Puerta del Sol where crowds of people gather to see in the new year. Together they carry out the tradition of swallowing one grape on each strike of the famous clock in Puerta del Sol. This is supposed to bring good luck for the new year. A race called “Carrera San Silvestre Vallecana” is held in the city on New Year’s Eve and is a good way to run off all the food eaten over the festive period. Another popular event is the “Cabalgata de Reyes” which takes place on January the 5th, when the three kings, who once celebrated the birth of Jesus Christ, bring presents to the children and parade through the streets of many cities and towns in Spain.

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