Tourist Information Guide

Christmas Nativity Scenes in Barcelona

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Background To Nativity Displays in Barcelona

Christmas lights on the Façade of the Town Council
Christmas lights in Plaça Reial

In Barcelona the Nativity plays an important role in Christmas Traditions - it is known as the 'Pessebre'. A large amount of Catalan homes include a Nativity scene as part of their Christmas decorations. They can be constructed similarly to a doll's house. Christmas markets such as the Fira de Santa Llucia are filled with stalls selling separate figurines and backgrounds to build the scene. They are of varying elaborateness- some scenes including lights and running water.

A stall selling Nativity figurines
A Christmas stall selling Nativity figurines

A tradition for the Nativity that is specific only to the Catalan region is the Caganer- a man squatting and pooing! See our guide to Spanish Christmas Traditions for more details. These figures come in all shapes and sizes and alongside the traditional figures there are often topical ones- this year depicting characters such as Messi, Zapatero and Obama. The Caganer is generally hidden somewhere at the back of the Nativity scene.

Pessebre in Plaça Sant Jaume Nativity Scene

The Nativity in Plaça Sant Jaume
The Christmas Nativity Scene in Plaça Sant Jaume

The main Nativity Scene in Barcelona can be found in Plaça Sant Jaume, outside the town hall. This is the largest and most impressive Nativity Scene that I have ever seen. In the weeks leading up to its opening an area of the square is cordoned off as the elaborate scene is erected. Locals wait with eager anticipation to see what has been created this year.

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Christmas Nativity Scene in Barcelona

On the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (08 December) a large queue forms, as people take their turn to see the full Nativity scene. Outside of this date there are rarely queues, although there is often a crowd around the Baby Jesus, taking photographs.

There are other, smaller Nativity scenes around Barcelona, however, these open at a later date (see below).

Pessebre a la Plaça Sant Jaume Nativity Scene
Plaça Sant Jaume, 1

Pessebre Monumental a la Parroquia de Sant Maria Vianney Nativity
Melcior de Palau, 56

Pessebres al Temple Sagrat Cor de Jesus del Tibidabo- Basilica
Plaza Tibidabo, 5

Each year we will provide details of what will be happening in Barcelona in the run up to Christmas and New Year.

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