“When I think of the festive season, I think of travelling from Berlin back to my family in the Basque Country. Everyone comes together in the small village square. It’s full of bars and cafes. Children are singing beneath the balconies and people are throwing money down to them. It’s a lively spot where I’m guaranteed to catch up with friends. Even though they live in different countries these days – at this time of year, everyone’s in this square!”
“The whole family always met at my grandma’s house in Lille. Stepping through her front door was like stepping into a fantastic world. She always had cats - just like the rest of our family. People even say we look like our cats! We would play games in the snow. Girls vs. boys. My mum, my aunts and my grandma against my dad, my uncle, my cousin and me. And the prize for the winners was candy canes. Grandma always gave us a lot of treats, but over the festive season this was even more special as it’d always be candy canes. They’re still my favourite sweets now!”
“Our festive celebrations happen at both the end of the year (Dongzhi) and the start of the new year (Lunar New Year). For both, my family gather together at my grandparents’ house and we eat! Our festivals follow many fun traditions, like making tangyuan (rice balls), playing mahjong all night long and watching performers dance as dragons and lions. It’s a very special time of year.”
“Fireworks are what bring my family and friends together after a busy year. We stop everything we’re doing and we sit together. Living in a small town in Egypt, we explore the streets and take in the views. It’s all about the loud music everywhere. And we’re there till the dawn of the new day. I feel warm and energised to start the new year after we’ve spent this quality time together.”
“Every year, my friends and I come together for an afternoon of baking, dancing and eating! The group is quite diverse - we’re from different countries, so we all make our own traditional scone to share. Now we have children, they also make their own simple cake too! We play music, catch up and feast on our tasty, festive goodies.”
“For me, the festive season is all about family reunions. I have beautifully vivid memories of this. It’s a scene that’s been repeated in the same way for as long as I can remember. I’m with my mum’s family at my uncle’s house. We’re in a crowded sitting room. The fire is lit. We sing songs, play bingo and enjoy rich homemade food and wine. It’s a time of celebration.”
Based in Madrid, freelance illustrator Ana loves crafting isometric drawings. Her colourful cartoon creations have been featured in Forbes and El Pais’ Babelia.