Spanish Christmas Customs 3 – the villancico

Posted on December 20th, 2011 by Theresa

Villancico The Spanish word for Christmas carol has its origin in the old Castilian word villano, meaning ‘villager’ – as opposed to noble or squire. During the 15th and 16th centuries the villancico was a jolly sort of song-and-dance knees up for country folk, and it was only in the following centuries that the songs took on a religious and / or Christmassy tone. As anyone who has spent a few seasons in Spain will know, there’s nothing like a deafening, tambourine-banging, hand-clapping, foot-stomping, bottle and spoon-clinking chorus-filled villancico to drive you nuts as you battle with the Christmas shopping.    

My favourite has always been  Los Peces en el Río – probably because it’s the only one I can ever remember the words to. Well, the chorus at least. Now, if you want to impress your Spanish friends you can crib up on the frolicking fish and their seasonal alegría by clicking on the link. Note the seseo on the pronunciation of ‘peces’ – peses as opposed to pethes. Fishes in the River

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