From its Puritan roots to complaints of rampant commercialism, Christmas around the world is been filled with traditions, old and new. Some date back to 16th-century Germany or even ancient Greek times, while others have caught on only in modern times.
And, among them, Christmas trees are one of the most popular, now all over the world.
Their tradition is long and rich, and has resulted in some modern trees that run the gamut from breathtakingly beautiful, encapsulating everything that Christmas stands for, to something simply weird.
Thus, If you need a little help to get into the holiday spirit this year, get yourself a winter drink with some holiday treats and a tour of the world’s best or most unusual Christmas trees. These towering pines (or sand or bottle piles, in some cases) are decked to the nines and shine brightly for holiday season, from Florida, Brazil, Mexico all the way to Lithuania.
In Spain Christmas it is a very important holiday.
More than 70% of the inhabitants of the country are Roman-Catholic and therefore, this beloved holiday has a long history and is always a special time of the year.
Also for Madrileños, Christmas is favourite holiday of the year with its twinkling lights, beautiful decorations and sparkling window displays that transform the city, while magic fills the air.
You can get the perfect Christmas lights experience when you go with the Christmas Tour Bus in Madrid, that drives in the evening and passes by all the main places which are decorated and lightened up.
In fact traditionally, from the end of November till the beginning of January, the city’s streets, buildings and squares twinkle with eco-friendly colourful lights created by renowned Spanish architects and graphic designers.
This year, the city welcomes back some new decorations which were put up for the first time last year: “luminous nativity scenes” installed on various monuments such as the Alcalá, Toledo and San Vicente gates, the viaduct of Calle Segovia and the arches leading on to the Plaza Mayor, while huge Christmas trees have once again been put up in some of the city’s most popular sites, including the newly refurbished Plaza de España, and the most popular one in Puerta del Sol.
The traditional Xmas tree is a 35m high, conic shaped metal construction, and its interior is accessible to public.
Without a doubt, the Puerta del Sol is an iconic image and symbol of Madrid. And, moreover, it is considered the geographic center of the city and Spain itself.
This square is where the “Kilometer 0” of the country’s radial roads is located, with a plaque on the ground that reminds all visitors of it.
In Spanish, La Puerta del Sol means “The door of the sun”, but could be translated as “The gateway to the sun”.
Historically, over the years, Madrid has had various defensive ramparts, as well as a number of triumphal arches.
Today, the Puerta del Sol is a public square, but used to be where the eastern entrance through the city wall was in the 16th century.
So, being in the east, it was where Madrid’s first rays of sunshine appeared at the break of day.
But this is just one theory, and history in this case might be mixed with legend: in fact, 16th century was the time when the rebellion against Emperor Carlos V started in Castilla. At that time Madrid wasn’t the capital of kingdom yet (it later became the capital in 1561), but rebels built there a watchtower (or a little castle) to defend themselves. The watchtower’s main door was facing east, from where they would witness the sunrise each morning.
Images from web – Google Research