¡Hola a todos! As the holiday season approaches, let’s embark on a festive journey to discover the vibrant and unique Christmas traditions that make Colombia a magical place during this time of year. From colorful celebrations to delicious culinary delights, Colombia has a rich tapestry of traditions that reflect its diverse culture. Join us as we count down the top 9 Christmas traditions that make this season special in Colombia.
La Novena de Aguinaldos (Christmas Novena):
The Novena is a nine-night series of prayers and carols leading up to Christmas Eve, symbolizing the journey of Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem.
Families and communities gather to recite prayers, sing carols, and share traditional Colombian foods.
It’s a time of reflection and unity, strengthening bonds with loved ones.
Las Velitas (Little Candles’ Day):
On December 7th, Colombians kick off the holiday season by lighting candles and lanterns to honor the Virgin Mary and the Immaculate Conception.
Streets, parks, and homes are illuminated with a sea of candles, creating a magical and festive atmosphere.
This tradition marks the beginning of Christmas celebrations in Colombia.
El Día de los Santos Inocentes (Day of the Holy Innocents):
Similar to April Fools’ Day, December 28th is a day for playful pranks and jokes.
Colombians engage in light-hearted humor, with friends and family members trying to outwit each other.
Newspapers and media outlets often publish fictional stories on this day, adding to the fun. They also show all the funny outtakes from the TV shows.
Parrandas (Street Caroling):
In many Colombian towns, groups of friends and neighbors gather to go caroling, creating impromptu musical parades.
Musicians play traditional instruments, and participants sing and dance their way through the streets.
Parrandas capture the lively and communal spirit of Colombian Christmas celebrations. They use to play “música de diciembre“.
El Pesebre (Nativity Scene):
Similar to other Latin American countries, Colombians create elaborate nativity scenes in their homes and public spaces.
Figurines representing the Holy Family, shepherds, and animals are arranged with meticulous detail.
Many families add local elements, showcasing the diversity of Colombian culture.
Aguinaldos (Gift Exchanges):
Gift-giving is an integral part of Colombian Christmas celebrations, and many families exchange presents on Christmas Eve.
Children eagerly await the arrival of “El Niño Dios” (Baby Jesus) to receive their gifts.
The act of giving reinforces the spirit of generosity and love during the holiday season.
Buñuelos and Natilla:
Colombian Christmas wouldn’t be complete without indulging in traditional treats like buñuelos (deep-fried cheese balls) and natilla (a creamy custard dessert).
Families gather in the kitchen to prepare these delicious treats, often sharing the joy with neighbors and friends.
The aroma of buñuelos and natilla is synonymous with the holiday season in Colombia.
La Cena de Nochebuena (Christmas Eve Dinner):
Christmas Eve is a time for families to come together and enjoy a festive feast.
Colombian tables are filled with a variety of dishes, including lechona (roast pork), tamales, and an assortment of sweets.
The dinner is a celebration of abundance and unity, reflecting Colombian hospitality.
El Año Viejo (The Old Year):
On New Year’s Eve, Colombians bid farewell to the old year by creating effigies known as “Año Viejo.”
These effigies, often representing disliked political figures or personal challenges, are burned at midnight.
The burning symbolizes letting go of the past and welcoming a fresh start in the new year.
Cannot go to the next year without listening to the song, Faltan Cinco Pa Las Doce.
Colombia’s Christmas traditions are a captivating blend of spirituality, joy, and cultural diversity. From heartfelt prayers during the Novena to the lively street celebrations of Parrandas, each tradition reflects the warmth and unity that define Colombian holiday festivities. As we embrace these customs, let’s appreciate the beauty of Colombian Christmas and share the joy with our friends and loved ones. ¡Felices Fiestas!