Christmas is a deeply religious holiday in Spain and the country's patron saint is the Virgin Mary. The Christmas season officially begins December 8, the feast of the Immaculate Conception. It is celebrated each year in front of the great Gothic cathedral in Seville with a ceremony called los Seises or the "dance of six." It is a series of precise movements and gestures and is said to be quite moving and beautiful.
Christmas Eve is known as Nochebuena or "the Good Night." It is a time for family members to gather together to rejoice and feast around the Nativity scenes that are present in nearly every home. A traditional Christmas treat is turron, a kind of almond candy. December 28 is the feast of the Holy Innocents. Young boys of a town or village light bonfires and one of them acts as the mayor who orders townspeople to perform civic chores such as sweeping the streets. As in many European countries, the children of Spain receive gifts on the feast of the Epiphany.