10 Differences – Celebrating Thanksgiving In Spain

thanksgiving in spain

Friends At Thanksgiving: Zoey, Adrian, Diana

By  Nancy Todd and Regina Winkle Bryan

Yes, we celebrate Thanksgiving in Spain.   We are celebrating on the Saturday after Thanksgiving and can celebrate any day we choose.

The Chicken Lady

We think about our friends and family and miss them.  Most of them.  Clinging to our tradition, we  want to be with dear friends we have met in Spain.  Here is Thanksgiving Scoop from your Scoopettes.

Regina, Nancy In Her New Flamenco Apron

1.  No one in Spain has heard of Thanksgiving. When we tell them the  bunk about the pilgrims giving thanks to the indians who the pilgrims also slaughtered, then stole their land, Spanish people look at us like we are nuts.  We picture the long wooden trestle table outside, all gathered around with pilgrims in stupid hats and big white collars.

2. Because everyone works on Thursday, one gets to choose whatever day is convenient.

3.  Dinner starts at 9.30 at night.  That is early for dinner in Spain.  If we said, “Come for dinner at 4,” people would look at us like we had lost all our pesetas. Dinner at 9.30 means people will arrive at 10.00. And some later.  We will sit down for dinner at 10.30.

4.  Grocery stores (as we know them) were not in existence in Spain until about 7 years ago.  There are no turkeys in the grocery stores.  So off to the Mercado  Concepcion (which sounds Catholic, something to do with immaculate but we don’t know what) where there are individual stalls of cheese, ham, eggs, etc.,  and The Chicken Lady.  A pavo, or turkey is ordered a week in advance to be picked  from up from The Chicken Lady.   It is important to ask that the head and feet be removed or we would get it home with all it’s acoutrements.  Regina is already a vegetarian.  The turkey with the  head idea is convincing Nancy to become one.

5.  Eleven Guests are invited.  Several countries will toast and eat turkey at Nancy’s apartment:  Egypt, France, Norway, Spain, Germany, Poland, and Wisconsin. Wisconsin is a country isn’t it?

6.  Regina and Nancy bumble through the Thanksgiving story, with guffaws all around.  We discuss what we are thankful for.  Friends and family rank at the top for everyone. We miss them and find solace with one another.

7.  This dinner is a family of choice.   We do not have to put up with the drunk, a relative’s uninvited yapping dog, the histrionic aunt, and the cousin who tells really bad ethnic jokes.  Nor the uncle who snores on the sofa mid party.    Or the latest gall bladder story.

8.  There is no football game.  Whew.

9.  We make sure that All Men and All Women help with the clean up.

10.  Dinner is over and everyone leaves around 2 a.m

A  Happy Thanksgiving to the people we love and treasure.  You are in our thoughts.

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15 Comments

  1. Kirsten Carpentier
    Posted November 28, 2010 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

    Sounds like I need to come to Spain next year for Thanksgiving! If for no other reason than to help with the making of YAMS! You had a story about sweet potatoes from street vendors, but did you have any for T-day?
    Sounds like a great time was had by all!!

  2. admin
    Posted November 29, 2010 at 12:54 am | Permalink

    Yes Kristen come next year for TG> The yams were supposed to come but didnt make it. We need your yams! See you next year at our table. What did you do?

  3. Posted November 29, 2010 at 2:00 am | Permalink

    It was the *best* Thanksgiving in Spain ever! Thanks, Scoopettes!

  4. Melissa Todd
    Posted December 2, 2010 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    I wish that I could have been there on sat! I totally could’ve made it to tgiving on thurs in the states and been in BCN by 10:30 on sat.

  5. admin
    Posted December 3, 2010 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    we missed you!

  6. admin
    Posted December 3, 2010 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    thank you for coming!

  7. admin
    Posted January 1, 2011 at 6:26 am | Permalink

    Yes, we missed you and wish you were here! Happy Thanksgiving Melissa. Nancy

  8. Jan
    Posted November 12, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    One of my favorites is fried sweet potatoes. Now these are yellow – not orange yams. They take a while but are well worth the treat! Prepare 1/2 to 1 per person. Cut potatoes into quarters. Boil them for about 10-15 minutes until just able to pierce with a fork. Remove and cool in water. The peel easily comes off. Now fry the pieces in butter, medium high heat, turning to brown each side. Be sure to snap up any crumbles before they burn. Yum! Serve right away or bake in oven until time to serve. Salt to taste.
    Miss you both!
    Jan

  9. admin
    Posted November 15, 2011 at 1:51 am | Permalink

    I love sweet potatoes! When are you coming to visit?!

  10. mike m
    Posted October 8, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    Hola ,
    Happy Thanksgiving from us in Canada. Where in spain are you as I always travel to a small town called Olias just east north of Malaga. Look at moving to malaga in the next 5 years after going almost every year since 2004. I will bring the free range turkey next year.

  11. mike m
    Posted October 8, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    Hi,
    Will be spending the American Thanks giving this year also. I get two this year and get to experince the Black Friday shopping as well. Wish me Luck
    Mike

  12. Samantha
    Posted November 21, 2012 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    Actually, the pilgrims did not slaughter the Indians, they made friends with them. It was because of the Indians the pilgrims were able to survive that first year in Plymouth. AND, the pilgrims also had a treaty with a Native American tribe to be at peace with one another. Many people often confuse the voyages of Christopher Columbus who sailed for Kind Ferdinand and Queen Isabella (King and Queen of SPAIN), with the man, Christopher Jones, who sailed the Mayflower. The Mayflower was the ship that brought the pilgrims and puritans to America. The voyages of Christopher Columbus (Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria) were the ones funded by Spain. The ships sailing for Spain slaughtered Indians in search of treasure, and took them as servants. We in America celebrate Thanksgiving because we are thankful for God’s sweet grace and blessings. The pilgrims were peaceful Christian people and they left Europe for religious freedom. By the time pilgrims arrived, the Indians had already become familiar with white men, and the attacks they had made on their villages prior to Plymouth being settled. During the period, England, France, as well as SPAIN were ALL guilty of slaughtering Native Americans, not only in America, but in Mexico as well. But that has nothing to do with what is known as the American Thanksgiving Holiday. As an American, I should know! Be blessed, and enjoy! http://www.historyworld.net/wrldhis/PlainTextHistories.asp?groupid=3077

  13. admin
    Posted November 22, 2012 at 6:05 am | Permalink

    Thanks for your comment. We are American, we just live in Spain.

  14. Pascual
    Posted February 9, 2013 at 4:32 am | Permalink

    El Primer Dia de Acción de Gracias se puede decir que fué del explorador español Pedro Menendez, en lo que hoy es Florida, en 1565, y el otro Dia de Accion de Gracias fué de otro explorador español, Juan de Oñate, en lo que hoy es Nuevo México, en 1598. Pero cuando piense en California, Nuevo México, Colorado, Florida, Nevada, Arkansas, Alabama, etc, piense que son nombres otorgados por España cuando Estados Unidos áun no existía. Incluso hasta en Alaska fundemos la primera ciudad, Córdoba, que cuando pasó a Estados Unidos se cambió como ” Córdova “. Hay lugares como Alabama o Florida cuya bandera es la bandera del imperio español. Una vez le dijo Bill Clinton a D.Juan Carlos, rey de España: ” Majestad, yo podría ser un subdito suyo, porque nací en un lugar que un día perteneció a la corona de España ”

    Como podrá comprobar, los españoles lleguemos antes que los ingleses, y buena parte de lo que hoy es Estados Unidos una vez pertenció a la corona de España. Otra cosa es que los historiadores americanos hayan querido borrar nuestra historia de Estados Unidos. Quizás por eso muy poca gente conozca algo sobre España, que no saben que fué España quien introdujo el caballo en América, los citricos o la arquitectura colonial de la zona del Pacifico

    Le recomiendo algunos autores como Tony Horwitz. En este articulo que te remito, lo explica muy bien

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/09/opinion/09horwitz.html?pagewanted=all

    The first Thanksgiving Day can say that was of the Spanish explorer Pedro Menendez, in what today is Florida, in 1565, and the other Thanksgiving Day was of another Spanish explorer, Juan de Oñate, in what today is New Mexico, in 1598. So when you thinks in California, New Mexico, Colorado, Florida, Nevada, Arkansas, Alabama, etc, think that are names granted by Spain when United States didn’t exist. Even until in Alaska we found the first city, Córdoba, that when it passed to United States it was changed as ” Córdova “. There are places like Alabama or Florida whose flags is the flag of the Spanish empire. Once Bill Clinton told to D.Juan Carlos, king from Spain: ” Majesty, I could be his citizen, because I was born in a place that one day belonged to the crown of Spain”

    As you will be able to check, the Spaniards arrive before the Englishmen, and good part of what today is United States, one day belonged to Spain. Another thing is that the American historians have wanted to erase our history of United States. Maybe for that reason very few people know something about Spain, that they don’t know that was Spain who introduced the horse in America, the citric fruits or the colonial construction of the area of the Pacifico

    I recommend you some authors like Tony Horwitz. In this article that I remit you, he explains to it very well

  15. Luis Brook-Soza
    Posted June 19, 2014 at 4:44 am | Permalink

    It’s cool to think that people besides Americans celebrate thanksgiving, as it seems to be a U.S. only like celebration. I think it makes since because of the amounts of Americans living in cities like Barcelona and Madrid due to study abroads and just general tourism. During thanksgiving here it’s custom to only have those related to you, and it’s rude to even think of removing them from the area. Another thing is TV is somewhat important during the celebration (at least after the dinner), due to the amount of parade’s going on, and there’s even football games some years. The grocery store is also the most useful way of buying things, and that’s been around for quite some time.

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