We're still celebrating Christmas in Spain. We're waiting for the Three Kings to come with the presents, and they arrive in Madrid tomorrow in a big parade. Tons of candy will be thrown at the crowds of children lining the curbs, and the Mayor will present the Kings with the key to the city so they can get into all the homes and leave their gifts.
(The Three Kings are portrayed by city council members. The key doesn't actually work. Good thing, considering the kleptomania of Spanish politicians.)
Nativity scenes are the favorite holiday decoration here. Businesses compete for the best scene, and you can see amazing ones.
This one is around the corner from my house in the window of a construction supply store. It's a fine example of the Madrid style. Each part of Spain has its own Nativity style, and Madrid's features natural materials used to create a lifelike setting: moss, lichen, rocks, sand, bark, leaves, twigs, etc.
The store owners, who create a similar display every year, water the scene every day. One year, an ant nest was accidentally included in the moss. The warmth of the store woke them from their hibernation, and Baby Jesus had extra visitors. Another year, giant (relative to the scale of the figurines) mushrooms erupted into the scene. This year, since I took this photo, grass and weeds have sprouted.
Ideally, you gather the moss and other materials yourself, but if you can't get out of town, each year the Plaza Mayor Christmas market includes moss vendors, such as this one.
— Sue Burke