A glimpse of Spain during the holidays

As you know, Spain is one of Incantato's favorite destinations and in 2011, we proudly brought the University of Miami Frost Chorale to this wonderful country. Now let us share some holiday traditions with you: On December 22 almost everyone in Spain takes part in the Christmas Lottery, and prizes are celebrated in style out in the streets. Christmas Eve (December 24) and Christmas Day (December 25) brings families together. Traditional dishes such as lamb and sea bream are prepared, along with seasonal desserts such as turrón (rich sweet made with almonds), polvorones (crumbly shortbread) and marzipan. Many attend Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, to commemorate the birth of Jesus.
December 28,  the Day of the Santos Inocentes, where people play pranks on each other similar to those of April Fools’ Day. Novelty items purchased at street markets add to the entertainment. Bid farewell to the year with the New Year’s Eve celebrations on December 31. Tradition has it that you have to eat 12 grapes one by one, in time with the striking of the clock at midnight on December 31. If you manage to eat all the grapes on time, you are in for a year of prosperity and good luck. People  also gather at the clock towers in their towns or cities (usually found in the main square) to toast and welcome the new year. Puerta del Sol Square in Madrid is a popular place to spend New Year's Eve. Thousands of people decked out with hats and squawkers joyfully toast in the New Year. Celebrations continue throughout the night at hotels, bars and clubs throughout Spain.
Another tradition is found in Alcoy, where young and old alike anticipate Christmas and the arrival of the Three Wise Men with special excitement. On the Sunday before January 6 (Epiphany), a  children’s parade called “les Pastoretes” (the little shepherds) is held. Children dressed up as shepherds parade with their flocks to give gifts to the new-born Baby Jesus. Excitement builds until January 4 when the Royal Envoy reads a royal proclamation announcing the coming of Melchior, Caspar and Balthazar, The Envoy is accompanied by “les Burretes,” small donkeys that carry letterboxes where the children put their letters to the Three Wise Men.
Finally, when night falls on January 5, the Three Wise Men make their spectacular entry into Alcoy, riding camels and loaded with presents. Torch bearers (antorcheros) light the way as the Wise Men ride through the streets of the town. Christmas carols fill the air as the royal pages (“les negres”) hand out presents to the children.
Here are some links for additional information on:
Holiday traditions in Spain, New Year's Eve in Spainthe Three Wise Men visit 
In 2012, Incantato Tours is honored to be sending the Western Reserve Academy Choir and Ensemble to Spain as well as the Marina High School Touring Choir. 


Introducing Incantato Dolce Vita: "Enchanted Christmas Markets of Germany and Austria"

Incantato Dolce Vita Tours proudly present the second opportunity for individuals and small groups to join our unique journeys that are usually reserved to already existing groups only. However, with the lauch of our Dolce Vita lines, we are now welcoming past travelers from our tours as well as new guests that appreciate our approach to international travel. Enchanting Christmas Markets is a tour that will run with as little as 30 travelers at a great low price. Since people from all over the US and Canada are invited to join, this is a land-only package. Here is a quick summary of the package: + Experience some of the grandest and most historical, well-known Christmas Markets as well as unique celebrations in charming off-the-beaten path towns and villages. Soak up settings, ambience and atmosphere unmatched in the U.S. and bring home memories to last a lifetime.

+ Ample opportunities to purchase one-of-a kind handmade Christmas decorations and unique presents at a fraction of the cost charged in the U.S.

+ Plenty of free time for sightseeing or just relaxing, last but not least German spa treatments are divine, but very affordable.

"Enchanted Christmas Markets of Germany and Austria" is a festive journey for all senses - see, feel, taste, smell, and hear what makes the European Holidays so very special. As you travel with a local Incantato Tour Manager throughout Germany and Austria, you will soon make new friends and experience the joy of being a real traveler and not just a tourist.

Taste traditional European Christmas specialities, warm up with mulled cider or traditional Gluehwein, grilled Bratwurst or crispy potato pancakes, learn how to make Stollen and other festive treats, meet local Artisans.

This unique seven day journey to Germany and Austria is currently scheduled for arrival in Frankfurt on December 2 and departure from Munich on December 8, 2012. Additional dates may be offered after this date fills up and as always we can gladly offer special departure dates for already existing groups.

As always, Incantato will provide all the arrangements in Europe — comfortable 4 star hotels, transportation in a private deluxe bus with Incantato driver, buffet breakfast daily and three traditional dinners,and you will be accompanied by an expert Tourmanager from arrival to departure, plus get to meet local expert guides for four city tours. Again, all you need to do is book your own flights from your nearest international airport to Frankfurt and back from Munich once the tour is confirmed.

The tour cost for this very inclusive package is $1616 USD per person in a shared double room based on 30 participants. We can offer single rooms at a supplement, but recommend you find a friend or two or three to travel with as it saves you this hefty surcharge imposed by the hotels (and not us as Incantato Tours does not mark-up single rooms supplements) and you do have more fun with your friends joining for sure.

Now here comes the important fine print: The tour cost is based on 1 Euro = $1.50 USD. Any currency fluctuation over +/- 2% affects the overall tour price and result in an increase or decrease. For more information, a detailed itineray and the registration form, please email us to dolcevita@incantatotours.com. We offer a $50 early sign-up discount if you register and deposit for your tour before January 7, 2012 as that is the closing date for most 2011 Christmas Markets in Europe. Your deposit is fully refundable if the tour does not operate due to lack of participants.