This year, Engel & Völkers has put together something very special and individual for its customers. In this year’s Social Media Christmas Special, licence partners from different countries have prepared videos about Christmas traditions from their country. They include the following five locations: Mallorca (Spain), New York (USA), Malta, Pretoria (South Africa) and Santa Monica (USA).
In Majorca, “Christmas” is celebrated from the 24th of December until the 6th January. Throughout this time, the roads in Majorca are festively decorated and Nativity cribs are put up; there are even some Christmas markets complete with mulled wine. Traditionally, people meet up with friends and family for dinner on Christmas Eve. The Christmas menu includes: suckling pig, egg dishes, roasts, and sweets such as the white ‘Nougat Turrón’. Later in the evening the “Misa del Gallo” (midnight mass) takes place. The giving of presents doesn’t happen in most households until January 6 – Epiphany – or the feast of the Three Wise Men.
On the evening of the 5th January, the Three Wise Men (Reyes Magos) ride through the town on horseback or on decorated floats, throwing sweets to the children. Overnight, they bring the gifts for the children to find the following morning.
Because of the multi-culturality of the country, an emphasis is placed on calling the holidays the “Holiday Season” and accordingly, friends send “Season’s Greetings” to each other. The most famous Christmas symbols come from the United States, for example Santa Claus coming from the North Pole, Christmas trees, Christmas cards, fairy lights, presents, kissing under the mistletoe…
On the 24th of December, the children hang socks over the fireplace, which they will find filled with presents the following morning. Legend has it that during the night before the 25th December, Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer and his eight fellow reindeer – Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen – bring the presents. This American Christmas fairy tale, based on the 19th century story of “A Visit from St. Nicholas”, was written by New Yorker Clarke Moore and was made popular through advertising campaigns.
Holiday celebrations usually take place on the beach or in the park with a picnic. Incidentally, Amarula on ice is a traditional Christmas drink. Instead of turkey fresh from the oven, a large BBQ is organised. Over the holidays, temperatures usually reach between 30-40 degrees. Due to the colonial era, there are many English customs, e.g. hanging up Christmas stockings or leaving out biscuits and milk for Father Christmas. Instead of a real Christmas tree, many households have wire ones, which they decorate with beads.
The Maltese population is 97% Catholic, and so Christmas is very important in Malta. The already impressive churches are decorated even more so than usual during Advent. A typical Christmas biscuit: “il-qaghaq ta’ l-ghasel” (ring-shaped, ingredients: citrus fruits, spices, orange blossom water and honey). Every Christmas Eve, early in the morning, a procession displaying the Christ Child winds its way through the streets and lanes of the small republic. Traditionally, the sermons at midnight mass are given by children. The first day of Christmas is a public holiday in Malta and a time to celebrate with family. The Christmas lunch usually includes turkey with potatoes and vegetables.
Traditionally, the evening of the 24th December is spent quietly and contemplatively. It is almost like a preparation for the upcoming celebration. The 25th December is the day upon which the arrival of Christ is celebrated. Christmas Day morning is a time for children and exchanging presents. Father Christmas (a combination of Saint Nicholas and the Christ Child) brought presents into the house the previous night, and placed them either under the Christmas tree or in socks hanging over the open fireplace. In the USA, a turkey or baked ham is normally eaten at Christmas time, along with lots of sweet things.
Get to know our colleagues from Malta, Majorca, South Africa, New York and Santa Monica, learn more about holiday traditions and win some great prizes…Just click here.