Plaza Naranjos in Marbella, after the lights were switched on. /JOSELE

Plaza Naranjos in Marbella, after the lights were switched on. / JOSELE

Marbella and San Pedro Alcántara switch on Christmas

Despite the rain, people refused to leave the streets even after the lights were turned on

JOAQUINA DUEÑAS

Christmas offically kicked off in San Pedro Alcántara and Marbella on Thursday (25 November) with the switching on of the lights, at 7pm and 7.30pm respectively.

People congregated in Calle Marqués del Duero and at Plaza de los Naranjos, where, after a countdown, mayor Ángeles Muñoz had the job of pressing the button that launched a light and music show.

Not even the rain could dampen the spirits of the locals, keen to go out and celebrate the occasion. Children, the elderly and entire families welcomed back what feels like a pre-pandemic Christmas - bar the masks.

"We were looking forward to Christmas, to being able to get together with family even if it rains, especially for their sake," said Dimi, as he pointed to his young children.

Ernesto too was keen to enjoy himself, and even though the rain worsened he refused to move. "From these festivities I only expect happiness, a lot of wow factor, art and excitement," he said.

In Plaza de los Naranjos, the Gospel It group played the music as the crowd immortalised the moment with their phones. There's nothing like an event of these characteristics to set social media on fire with live broadcasts and selfies.

Two concerts were also meant to go ahead to finish off the night. David de María was able to play six songs from his recent album before the rain forced them to pack up.

In Marbella, plastic sheets covered instruments where Pitingo and his group were meant to play their songs. But the clouds didn't disperse and when everything seemed lost, a welcome surprise emerged.

The crowd began huddling around the stage, forming a circle. In the middle, donning a hat, singer Pitingo gave a small acoustic taster to an eager crowd braving the cold and wet. A small gift that the crowd welcomed with cheers and applause, with the singer even talking to the people and dancing with them.

The Christmas lights switch-on means that 136 streets and 15 squares throughout the municipality of Marbella will be illuminated until the 6 January.

With last Thursday's early switch-on, the town will have one of the longest Christmases in Spain, which is intended to benefit local shops and businesses.

The decorations include a 16-metre tree and a giant bauble in the Francisco Cuevas Blanco park, as well as a hundred figures on roundabouts, ornaments on a hundred palm trees and daily music shows at 6.30, 8 and 9pm.