In This Issue:

Call for Board Members: If you’re passionate about flamenco and have expertise in finance, we invite you to join us. 

Special Feature: World Flamenco Day Events Review

January Classes: Get on Dancing!

Spanish Culture Feature:Christmas in Andalucia

Recipe Corner: Mantecados

We had a busy November preparing and performing on World Flamenco Day. Our January class schedule is out. Registration is open! Dance with us in 2024, or give the gift of classes to a loved one. To get you in the holiday mood, learn how Andalusian’s celebrate Christmas.

World Flamenco Day Events Review

Our recent events to celebrate World Flamenco Day were a lot of fun and received a warm reception. We included a mixture of informative presentations with demonstrations of dance, music and rhythms from our artists.  The students of Flamenco and Ballet School Maria Osende joined us for some Sevillanas. We look forward to returning to the Halifax Central Library for this event on November 16, 2024!

There were also opportunities for the audience to get up and dance with us, try some flamenco rhythms and even some flamenco karaoke!


Photo credits: Paul Dunphy, Mervyn Kumar


Christmas in Andalucia

As the Christmas season approaches in Andalucía, the festivities kick off with the lighting of Christmas decorations in late November.  

Andalucían homes and convents come alive with the delightful aroma of Christmas sweets, including mazapán, piñonates, and the traditional “Roscón de Reyes,” a festive sweet bread adorned with candied fruits. These treats are enjoyed with anise liqueur, wine, and cinnamon.

Christmas in Andalucía is marked by the cherished tradition of visiting Nativity scenes. One notable display is the “Belén de chocolate” in Rota, a construction entirely made of chocolate, weighing 800 kg.

The atmosphere is enriched by the joyful Villancicos, Christmas carols often sung by groups of children and adults in the streets. The day before Christmas Eve features spontaneous songs and dances called Zambombas, where people gather around a fireplace, singing and dancing to the accompaniment of unique instruments. Canadians would be intrigued by the unique blend of traditional Spanish songs and contemporary tunes like “All I Want for Christmas is You.”

The festive season officially begins on December 22 with the Christmas Lottery, known as “El Gordo.” Nochebuena (Christmas Eve) is celebrated with traditional meals featuring turkey, suckling pig, seafood, sweet nougat (turrón), and Catalonian sparkling wine, “cava.”

Spanish and Andalucían traditions shine on Noche Vieja (New Year’s Eve), with the unique tradition of eating “Las Uvas” , twelve grapes for good luck during the last twelve seconds of the year, followed by a toast with cava. The festivities culminate on January 6 with the eagerly awaited arrival of the Three Kings, celebrated with colorful parades across Andalucía.

Image Source:

Spanish Christmas Dinner in Andalucia

Christmas Eve is the night for family get-togethers and the main Christmas meal. One item that will surely be at every table is an entire leg of cured ham. It is served in thin slices as an appetizer, together with a selection of smoked salmon, pates, cured meats and special cheese slices. It is often the main course as well.

Spanish Christmas Carols – Villancicos and Flamenco

International Christmas carols are not popular in Andalucia. Regional Christmas songs,  ‘villancicos’  have been sung here for centuries. The lyrics are religious, most are about the birth of Jesus. Children go door to door to sing a villancico, in return for pocket money known as ‘aguinaldo’.  

Some traditional villancicos verses are sung in the Flamenco style (typically bulerias compas) and can be accompanied by dancing.


Everybody brings something for the child
I have nothing to bring him
I will bring him my heart
which will act as diapers.


Andalucian’s Sweet Christmas Snack – Mantecados

Christmas Spanish treats exclusive to Andalucia are the Mantecados. In the 16th century Andalucia had an overproduction of lard and corn, so they had to think of something to do with it to use it up.They came up with Mantecado!

There is debate as to which town/city these pastries were born, but one thing is clear, the recipe quickly spread throughout Spain. Estepa, a city located near Sevilla, has the  majority of factories making mantecado. It is where the “Mantecado marketing” started in the 19th century.  It is the home of  the Museum of the Mantecado.

Recipe Source:

For the preparation

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Total: 40 mins
Servings: 84 servings
Yield: 84 cookies


  • 2 1/4 cups vegetable shortening
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 2 shots anise-flavored liqueur, anisette or other
  • 1 lemon peel, grated
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 7 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus 1/4 to 1/2 cup more, if needed
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 large egg white, beaten, for the glaze
  • Cinnamon sugar, for sprinkling, optional


  1. Gather the ingredients
  2. Preheat the oven to 325 F
  3. In a large mixing bowl, use a hand mixer to whip the vegetable shortening with the oil. Add the sugar and mix until smooth. Add the egg yolks, anisette, lemon peel, lemon juice, and cinnamon, and mix together.
  4. Add 7 of the cups flour, 1 cup at a time to the mixture, then add baking soda. Be sure to mix well. The dough should be smooth and soft.
  5. Using a teaspoon, scoop out a dollop of dough. Form balls about the size of walnuts using your hands. If the dough is too sticky to roll into balls, mix in additional flour (from 1/4 to 1/2 cup).
  6. Place balls onto an non-greased cookie sheet. Lightly press down on each ball to flatten slightly. Brush the beaten egg white on the top of each cookie. Bake cookies until they begin to turn light brown on the bottom edges, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  7. Let the cookies cool 5 minutes before removing from the cookie sheet, as they are very delicate. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon if desired.
  8. Enjoy!