Feliz Navidad: Celebrating Christmas in Spain with Dr. Marta López Beriso

Feliz Navidad: Celebrating Christmas in Spain with Dr. Marta López Beriso


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Celebrating Christmas in Spain is a multi-faith experience that engages the full community. Religious iconography fuses with non-religious historic traditions to build several days of fiestas, enjoyed by travelers and locals alike.

In Spain, our friends and family gather around tables almost every day between December 22nd and January 7th, to enjoy traditions that originate from the Roman Saturnalia and Bacchanalia. Meals conclude with almond-flavored sweets such as “turrón”, of Islamic origin. From medieval times, too, date Christmas carols, sung in the company of simple, yet stunning instruments such as “zambomba” or “pandereta”. 

During our conversation, we'll contextualize several unique traditions such as: welcoming the New Year after swallowing 12 grapes, children writing their Christmas wish list to the Three Wise Men, April’s Fool Jokes on December the 28th, and so many more. 

Led by an expert on Art History, Marta López Beriso, participants will come away with an increased understanding of the multifaceted Christmas spirit with which Spaniards ring in each new year.

Professor Marta López Beriso is an active scholar and educator in the field of Art History. She teaches at various American universities in Madrid. She holds degrees in Art History and Archaeology (B.A. Université de La Sorbonne-Paris IV), Arts and Culture Administration (M.A. Universidad de Barcelona), and a PhD in Art History, expertise in History of Photography (Universidad Complutense de Madrid). She is also the founder and director of “Aulas de Arte”, a private non-profit organization, dedicated to educational services in museums, nationwide and internationally. Born and raised in Madrid, she has studied in Paris and also worked in New York at the beginning of her professional career, at MOMA. Back in Madrid she feels the city as a cosmopolitan insider. She knows both the historical and traditional Madrid she discovered with her mother and grandmother as well as the most contemporary and alternative side of the city.

This conversation is suitable for all ages.

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

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