Business & Culture, Spring 2014, Issue I
The students arrived in Barcelona tired and jet lagged on January 2nd. We threw them immediately into a week of orientation meetings, talks and tours, but they were saved by a day off on January 6th to celebrate Kings Day and the end of the Christmas season.
What is Kings Day? Epiphany is celebrated 12 days after Christmas and marks the day the wisemen arrived in Bethleham with their gifts. Dia de Los Reyes is as important as Christmas itself here, especially for kids, as this is the day when they get their presents! Read more about the three kings.
Students went out on Jan 5th to watch the parade with their Guardian Angels (local student guides) as the kings arrived in the city, ready to distribute their toys. Thanks to Eric, from University of Vermont for the photos! See more of his incredible photography on his blog.
Celebrating the Holiday with Host Families
A popular tradition on this day is to eat a Roscón, a sweet, donut-shaped bread. A plastic toy and a bean are buried inside the mixture. He or she who finds the toy gets good luck for the next year and is king for the day (with a crown and all), he who finds the bean, pays for the Roscon.
Asya, from Indiana University, wrote a blog post about living with a host family. On Kings Day "about 15 members of Ana's family came to her house for lunch... which lasted until dinner, where we chatted and shared the interesting differences between our home towns and Barcelona. It was awesome and kind of reminded me of Thanksgiving. Cynthia and I both got the king in our slices of the bread which was cute and exciting. And We woke up to gifts (a scarf, gloves, a book on Barcelona, and candies) from "the three kings" outside of our doors!" Read more here.
While hiking up Tibidabo Mountain behind Barcelona on a CIEE Day Trip last weekend, we were greeted by 5 baby boar (javalí) searching for nuts. The boar are a common sight in the Collserola National Park, although they rarely come out during the day or that close to common paths. We were lucky to be able to see them, and even luckier that they didn't come with an angry mama!
After the hike we went to a restaurant to try calçots, a typical Catalan winter treat. Onions are roasted and then steamed, at which point it is time to get messy. The difficult part is taking off the charred exterior, and then you can dip the onion in romesco sauce and lower it into your mouth. Joe, from University of Minnesota demonstrates with skill: