Spain

Spain

Why Spain loves the Three Kings more than Santa

Photo of one of the three kings during Tenerife´s 2015 three kings parade: Desiree Martin/AFP The Feast of Epiphany is traditionally Spain's main festive holiday, when children receive their presents brought not by Santa Claus, but by the Three Kings. On "El Día de los Reyes" Spain and Latin American countries celebrate the biblical adoration of baby Jesus by the three Kings, also known as the three Wise Men or Magi. Photo: Basilica of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo in Ravenna, Italy: The Three Wise Men. Nina-no/Wikimedia Kings are cooler than Santa In a 2015 survey, Spanish children overwhelmingly chose the Three Kings as their favourite gift giver (67 percent) over Santa Claus (27 percent). In Spain ‘Los Reyes Magos’ – Melchior, Caspar and Balthazar – play a similar role to Santa Claus in many other parts of the world. Spanish children write letters to the Three Kings, or Three Wise Men, who then bring the children gifts the night before, or on the morning of the ..

Spain

Spain’s jobless rate dropped nearly 8 percent in 2017

A demonstration in Madrid in 2016 by unions against poverty, pensions and unemployment. Photo: AFP Spain's jobless queue shrank by 7.8 percent last year, the labour ministry said Wednesday, as unemployment continues to recede from the record highs seen in 2013 during the economic crisis. The ministry said 3.4 million people were registered as out of work last year, some 290,000 fewer than in 2016. But one of Spain's most influential unions, UGT, retorted that the labour market was still suffering the effects of the crisis and austerity measures implemented by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's government. "Jobs are increasingly temporary and in December just four out of every 100 contracts signed were long-term and full-time," it said in a statement. According to the labour ministry, some 19.6 million temporary contracts were signed last year, up 7.1 percent from 2016, while just 1.9 million long-term contracts were handed out, a 12.6 percent rise. ..

Spain

Police brutality? Calls for probe into migrant death in Spain

People gather for a demonstration outside Archidona jail which is currently used as a detention centre for migrants. Photo: AFP An activist group and the brother of an Algerian man who died in a Spanish jail used as a migrant centre called Tuesday for an independent probe into his apparent suicide after allegations of police brutality. Mohamed Boudarbala, 36, was found dead Friday in his cell in a new prison in the southern town of Archidona currently used as a so-called CIE — a centre where migrants are held pending asylum claims after they arrive in Spain. Police said Tuesday an autopsy revealed he "hanged himself with a sheet". READ MORE: Algerian migrant held in jail in Spain found dead At a press conference in the southern city of Malaga organised by the Citizens' Platform Against the CIE of Archidona, his brother Ahmed Boudarbala denied Mohamed was suicidal. "I was in contact with my brother every day, we called each other, he complained about the foo..

Spain

Ten resolutions to make the most of life in Spain in 2018

Stuck in a Spain-sized rut? Need to add some sparkle to your life in 2018? The Local offers you ten easy-to-achieve resolutions that will make the coming year in Spain one to remember. 1. Improve your Spanish (or Catalan or Basque etc) Photo: The LEAF project/Flickr If you’ve decided your Spanish is already good enough, or that the language is just too hard, now is the time to get out of your comfort zone. Buy a book, get an intercambio (language exchange partner), takes classes, or just watch more Spanish television: whatever you do, stop putting it off and take the next step . If you're looking to learn some offbeat vocabulary a class might not teach you, perhaps start with our list of 'false friends' you need to watch out for when speaking Spanish. And if you want to work on sounding a bit more local when you speak, try these outrageous, rude expressions. 2. Take up the sport of padel: You've probably spotted them around Spain — strange half-si..

Spain

Outrage as Madrid chooses drag queen for traditional Three Kings parade

Traditionalists are furious after it emerged that one of the ‘Three Wise Men’ in the January 5th Epiphany parade would in fact be played by a drag queen. The January 5th Three Kings parades are a highlight of Spain's busy Christmas calendar and see the Three Wise Men, or Magi, parade through cities, towns and villages throughout the country distributing sweets to children. Once upon a time the roles of ‘Los Reyes Magos' were played by local councillors, one of whom traditionally ‘blacked up’ for the part of Balthazar. Photo: Gerard Julien/AFP But in recent years, and since the arrival of a left-leaning council at Madrid’s City Hall, things have taken a rather less traditional turn. Two years ago, authorities responsible for organizing the cabalgata in Madrid’s Puente de Vallecas district not only decided that an actual black man would be found for the role but stirred up a storm by swapping one of the three kings for a queen – in a nod to equality and women’s ..

Spain

More than 480 people drowned in Spain during 2017

Those most at risk of drowning are men over the age of 35 who choose to swim at a beach where there are no lifeguards present. New data has revealed that a total of 481 people drowned at Spanish swimming spots during the whole of 2017, a rise of ten percent on the year before. Spain’s national lifeguard federation published the figure as 2017 came to a close reporting that during the course of the year 2,487 people were saved after getting difficulty in the water. The report does not include data for those migrants who drowned or were rescued while trying to reach Spain from the coast of north Africa but centres on incidents that took place on beaches, lakes and at swimming pools across mainland Spain and the Canary and Balearic Islands. Not surprisingly the data reveals that the most drownings occurred during the height of the summer holiday season, with 95 deaths in July, 71 in August and 70 in June. The biggest number of deaths occurred in the Canary Islands where ..

Spain

Twelve epic festivals in Spain to attend in 2018

Seville's April Fair is something to dress up for. Photo: AFP Hundreds of fiestas take place across Spain each year, whether it be a small village celebrating their patron saint or nationwide celebrations. Here is our pick of the best. Carnival, February 11th Photo: Desiree Martin/AFP They may not have pancake day, but Spaniards know how to let their hair down before the frugality of Lent. Carnival fever sweeps across the nation as people prepare their costumes ready for a big party. While Rio style parades are held in the Canary Islands, some smaller celebrations really capture the imagination. Las Fallas, Valencia, March 15th – 19th Photo: AFP Each March in Sagunto, Valencianos celebrate Saint Joseph, the patron saint of carpenters. After months spent creating giant papier-mâché models satirizing politicians and popular figures of the day, the ninots are paraded through the streets before being burnt in a ferocious climax of bonfires and fireworks. The festiva..

Spain

Spain’s festive cake brings promise of big prizes

On January 6th to celebrate Epiphany, Spaniards typically tuck into a Roscón de Reyes, a golden brioche ring decorated with candied fruit. The cakes, which symbolize the crowns worn by the Three Kings (or Wise Men) on their visit to baby Jesus, traditionally contain a little figurine for children as well as a dry fava bean. Whoever finds the toy is crowned king or queen of the celebration, while the one who finds the bean has to buy the Roscón next year. But this year, El Corte Inglés has promised an even greater prize. The Spanish department store says it has hidden one gram gold ingots in 1000 of its cakes sold in the run up to Epiphany, each ingot with an estimated value of €47. It has also included three special prizes of a gold ingot weighing an ounce with a value of €1,100. El Corte Inglés expects to sell an estimated 600,000 roscones at its stores across Spain this year, in 25 different varieties. But the department store isn’t the only merchant to offer the..

Spain

Spanish foreign minister says Catalan crisis cost ‘€1 bn’

Spanish foreign minister Luis de Guindos. Photo: Raigo Pajula/AFP Spain's foreign minister claimed on Monday that the Catalan independence crisis had cost the country "a billion" euros as fallout from the turmoil continued to hamper growth in the wealthy region. Luis de Guindos said slowdown in growth in Catalonia, which accounts to around a fifth of Spanish GDP, was hampering the eurozone's fourth largest economy as a whole. "Catalonia used to have growth above that of Spain, it was one of the drivers of the Spanish economy," he told Spanish radio. "However, in the fourth quarter, it's become a burden." De Guindos estimated the crisis could "easily have cost a billion euros" ($1.2 billion). Spain was plunged into its deepest political crisis in decades when separatists in Catalonia's regional government declared independence in October following a banned referendum on the topic. Led by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, Madrid invoked powers p..

Spain

Spanish foreign minister says Catalan crisis cost ‘€1 bn’

Spanish foreign minister Luis de Guindos. Photo: Raigo Pajula/AFP Spain's foreign minister claimed on Monday that the Catalan independence crisis had cost the country "a billion" euros as fallout from the turmoil continued to hamper growth in the wealthy region. Luis de Guindos said slowdown in growth in Catalonia, which accounts to around a fifth of Spanish GDP, was hampering the eurozone's fourth largest economy as a whole. "Catalonia used to have growth above that of Spain, it was one of the drivers of the Spanish economy," he told Spanish radio. "However, in the fourth quarter, it's become a burden." De Guindos estimated the crisis could "easily have cost a billion euros" ($1.2 billion). Spain was plunged into its deepest political crisis in decades when separatists in Catalonia's regional government declared independence in October following a banned referendum on the topic. Led by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, Madrid invoked powers p..

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