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Christmas lights reflect Spain's growing prosperity
With Christmas Eve less than a month away, towns and cities around Spain have turned on their Christmas lights, most of which will remain lit until January 7th, just after the Epiphany celebrations.
Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Zaragoza, Sevilla and Málaga are just some of the cities whose 2017 Christmas lights reflect the economic upturn, with more lights than least year, more streets included in the Christmas light displays, or simply the lights being on for longer.
In a nod to the more commercial side of the festivities and in agreement with local shops and businesses, the lights in Madrid were switched on on Black Friday, November 24th. The capital has spent 2.9 million euros on Christmas lights this year, 350,000 euros more than in 2016, to include more areas of the city.
In Barcelona, Ada Colau's city councillors tried to bring an independent, separatist theme to this year's lights, with fountains lit up with yellow lights as a nod to the ex-councillors in prison, but the electoral board prohibited it. The city of Barcelona has spent a total of 860,000 euros on Christmas illumination (compared with 810,000 last year). They were switched on on November 23rd in a ceremony that paid tribute to the victims of the terrorist attack in the city's Ramblas on August 17th.
Valencia, whose lights will not go on until today (December 4th), has spent the same as last year - 72,000 euros - but has extended the Christmas lights into more areas of the city in order to promote local, independent businesses. The biggest change will be the number of Christmas trees around the city (in addition to the central one in the town hall square) which have been increased from six to nine.
In Seville the lights were switched on on Friday and are said to include "novel ideas" in the most central districts this year. A total of 200 streets will be lit up - the same number as last year - and the total cost will be 499,730 euros, about 1,000 euros more than last year. The late ilumination of the city in 2016 provoked a large number of complaints from local businesses, so it was brought forward this year.
Zaragoza will be spending 10,000 euros more on its Christmas lights this year, but will be reducing electricity consumption by 10.9%. There are a lot of new decorations around the town hall area and they have been lit since last Friday.
Málaga is a special case, with more areas of the city lit up this year, but with the same budget as last year. A total of 573,211 will be spent on the lighting, although extra has been set aside for a large central tree. There will be innovations in the city's main streets and lights will be added to eight new streets.
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