by Eduardo Airán Ramos Llarena, KONTAKT, Poland

Yep, I know it, Christmas is over. But you can take this as a trip recommendation for next Christmas. One of Galicia’s most anticipated and celebrated events during Christmas is the turning on of Vigo’s Christmas lights. This event attracts thousands of people who want to be there and behold the “start” of Christmas.

I should mention that Vigo’s lights light up the city for almost two months every year, from mid-November to mid-January. So, you do not actually need to travel to Vigo during Christmas to see the lights.

The mayor of the city, Abel Caballero, who has been the mayor for over 15 years now, has been promoting this event for years in order to encourage both national and international tourism in the city. This is the reason why this event has constantly grown up over the last few years. Each year more and more lights are set up all around the city, and in 2022 up to 11 million LED lights were set up in over 400 of the city’s streets.

The mayor Abel Caballero himself is the person in charge of “starting” the Christmas period in Vigo, so he delivers a speech in front of the whole of thousands of people who gather to witness this moment, and then he hits the power button to switch on all the lights of the city.

This is a one-of-a-kind event in Spain, and Abel Caballero wants it to be the largest and best lights display in the world. In a 2018 video, he was shown saying “let the mayors of New York, London, Tokyo, Paris, and Berlin know that we’re going to be simply the best”. Of course, a great expense is needed in order to set up all these lights, and this year’s expense was around 800.000 euros, but it seems to pay off, as last year the city received visitors from across Spain during the whole holiday season, getting the streets very crowded and hotels reporting full occupancy.

Vigo is not isolated from the rest of the world, so it is also suffering from the energy crisis-related difficulties that we all are currently going through. This is why the city’s authorities have had to reduce the number of hours that the lights are on each night, thus reducing energy consumption.

So, in short, if you are planning a visit to Galicia for the end of 2023, this spectacle is definitely worth seeing.

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