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South Africans find their Spanish spirit for Christmas in July…

South Africans love an excuse to celebrate and the seventh month of the year spells Christmas in July for many.

With the long Easter weekend and the July holidays behind us now, this pseudo-Christmas comes with great timing.

Christmas in July  happens in the middle of the winter season. This provides an opportunity to rekindle the spirit of how people in the northern hemisphere experience Christmas in cold and wet conditions with a warm and woolly disposition.

This can also be a mid-year break, of sorts, with an opportunity to effectively reset for the following five months. The celebration also comes with a few more shopping opportunities, as shops and malls from Gauteng to Cape Town and other parts of the country advertise appropriate specials.

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Christmas in July also coincides, quite fittingly, with the El Gordo de Verano summer lottery in Spain. This is ostensibly the sister draw to the superior El Gordo, which happens at Christmas in December each year. South Africans, incidentally, can enter the El Gordo de Verano, which is available here.

Besides the chance to enter Spanish lotteries, there are several other elements South Africans appreciate about the popular Mediterranean country. Jamón is an edible treat all year round, but especially during Christmas in July and December. This dry-cured delicacy pairs well with the delicious red wines which Capetonians, Durbanites and other citizens of Mzansi enjoy.

South Africans are, of course, big football fans as well. If it’s not their homegrown stars in the Premier Soccer League or the Harry Kanes of the world in the English Premier League they’re supporting, then they’re backing Lionel Messi and others in La Liga. This adopted patriotism extended to the Euros recently, too, when South Africans far and wide put their hopes in Spain all the way to the semi-finals, only to be eliminated by Italy at the second-last hurdle. The Euro 2020 title would have been a nice Christmas in July gift for South Africans and Spaniards alike. Alas.

South Africa’s sincere football connection with Spain, has been in existence for many years but was further cemented in 2010. The FIFA World Cup was hosted in this country – and the Spanish won the title in fetching fashion.

“Christmas in July, for me at least, is the chance to have a small pause in the year and reflect on what’s happened and what might be ahead,” said a local radio listener in Cape Town’s southern suburbs recently.

“We’ll be heading off on school holidays and then when we come back we will pop something nice into the oven and celebrate Christmas in July in our own special way.

“Family is important to me and, when we make the time for each other, it’s all the more special. It can be planned. It can be spontaneous but it must be. We know that not everyone celebrates Christmas in July as much as they do in December, but for us we make it work and enjoy it.”

The next time you’re looking for a milestone to mark with momentum for the rest of the year ahead, Christmas in July might be just for you.

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