logo AyiConnect Staff, Dec 19, 2022
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Christmas traditions in the Spanish speaking countries

 

The Hispanic countries have many things in common, among them the Christmas’ customs and traditions stand out, although each country has its way to make it unique.

All the countries that make up the Hispanic community tend to decorate their homes with lights, ornaments and Christmas trees, and share with family and friends during Christmas Eve and New Year.

ARGENTINA

  • On Christmas Eve you cannot miss food such as Vitel Toné, Lechón, Russian salad, stuffed tomatoes, sweet bread and nougat.
  • Game of the "Invisible Friend" consists of distributing a name at random and on Christmas night putting the gifts anonymously under the tree and, after being opened, the identities will be revealed.
  • Waiting for Santa Claus on December 25 for gifts.
  • In the cities, it’s common for the nights of December 24 to have many places with parties.
  • Balloons are released into the sky with New Year's wishes.
  • Give women pink underwear as a symbol of good fortune. This garment must be released in the New Year.

BOLIVIA

  • On Christmas night they go to the "mass of the rooster", the name comes from the fact that the mass is before the rooster crows.
  • The day the Three Kings come, the children leave their shoes outside so that they can put their gifts there.
  • Dinner consists of picana soup with salad, fruit and roast meat. The next morning, it is tradition to drink hot chocolate and eat fritters.
  • The most common way to decorate at Christmas is with a nativity scene.
  • It is not customary to give gifts on Christmas Eve.
  • Processions are made on the suffering and sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

COLOMBIA

  • The decoration of the streets indicates the beginning of the season.
  • Arming the nativity scene is a tradition made between family and friends.
  • For nine days, prior to December 24, families gather around the manger or the Christmas tree to pray and sing the joys.
  • The Christmas dinner and the food offered in it depend a lot on the region of Colombia where the diners come from. Dishes such as: tamales, suckling pig, fritters, stuffed chicken and cold meats are served.

CHILE

  • Santa Claus is known as the Old Man Easter. Many families organize entertaining rituals for his arrival.
  • Christmas carols are often heard while the TV shows allusive movies.
  • Decorating the house helps to strengthen the Christmas spirit. This is why in many sectors the neighbors even compete for who has the best light decoration.
  • Attending mass on Christmas Eve is a tradition that is done as a family, here the children make presentations such as singing Christmas carols and representing the nativity scene.
  • The secret friend (same as Argentina's invisible friend)

COSTA RICA

  • Zapote Festival: a bullring is set up from December 25 to the first week of January.
  • On December 26, the national top of San Jose is celebrated, which consists of a parade.
  • A mass is celebrated after the Christmas dinner.
  • Christmas food is tamales, pupusas, vigoron and rompope.

CUBA

  • They usually eat roast pork with rice, black beans, salad, bread and yuka in mojo. In addition to sweets with grapefruit and orange shells.
  • A mass is celebrated at midnight on Christmas to commemorate the birth of Christ.
  • Attending parties and gatherings with family and friends until dawn is one of the main ways Christmas is celebrated in Cuba. Consequently, homes are invaded by a festive atmosphere in which music, dance and food are the stars.

EL SALVADOR

  • A shirt, blouse, pants, shoes or even a complete new outfit cannot be missing on these dates.
  • The variety of Salvadoran gastronomy is infinite: chicken tamales, chicken with sauce and potatoes, the "chumpe", pork or meat accompanied by the unique and incomparable criolla sauce based on tomato and spices.
  • The traditional “cumbiones” cannot be missing to animate the night and early morning, among them the Christmas hit “La bala”.
  • The night of the 24th has already passed and Christmas is coming. Many of the Salvadorans go to the beach to continue the party.

SPAIN

  • December 22 is a day full of hope because this date is the date for the extraordinary draw for the Christmas Lottery. People buy lottery tickets that can be shared with friends or family (to spread luck).
  • One of the most curious Christmas traditions in Spain is to eat 12 grapes at midnight on December 31.
  • On the afternoon of January 5, the Spanish streets fill with spectators to admire the spectacular Cabalgatas de los Reyes Magos.
  • Eat the Roscon de Reyes.

GUATEMALA

  • Las posadas (from December 15 to 23): they consist of the manufacture of a small anda, which is carried on the back of a certain group of people, in which images of María and José dressed as pilgrims are placed.
  • The food cannot be missing for the season. In families it is common to find a diet based on punch and tamales, which are sweet and salty.
  • Rockets and other gunpowder-based devices are common for New Year's Eve celebrations.
  • Gift exchange is common in Guatemalan workplaces and homes during the month of December.

EQUATORIAL GUINEA

  • The food these days is usually turkey, chicken and roast duck, accompanied by a delicious osang or malamba, which are the drinks to celebrate, apart from some delicious nougat for dessert.
  • They usually go to mass to thank and ask for those who are not with them this Christmas.
  • The Christmas carols that everyone knows and waits a year to sing can't wait in December.
  • The arrival of Santa Claus with many gifts for all the little ones who behaved well throughout the year.

HONDURAS

  • There are those who cannot wait until December and begin to assemble the Christmas tree from the beginning of November.
  • Las Posadas (same as those in Guatemala).
  • Pastorelas: the events before the birth of Christ are represented.
  • Secret friend (same as in Argentina and Chile)
  • Tamales are the perfect companion for Christmas and torrejas are the ideal dessert to share with the family.
  • A doll is made to burn it in New Year called "Old Year".
  • Eat 12 grapes at midnight.

MEXICO

  • The piñatas: they are originally made with clay and 7 spikes that represent the deadly sins. They are filled with: fruits, peanuts and sweets.
  • Christmas Eve, ornamental plant, known as Christmas flower, Christmas star, Santa Catalina, Easter flower and fire flower, symbol of Mexican pride.
  • Fusing in a spectacular way the culinary art of two great cultures: the indigenous and the Spanish with traditional dishes that occupy a place of honor on the table of any home, such as: cod, romeritos, turkey and shredded leg.

NICARAGUA

  • Nicaraguans love to celebrate with gunpowder and on these dates they cannot be missing.
  • Dressing in yellow, putting money in our shoes, eating the twelve grapes, running with a suitcase, sweeping the house, are some of the customs for New Year.
  • 3…2…1! The countdown to the New Year is one of the most exciting traditions of the night.
  • One of the most outstanding traditions of this date is that of the Pastorelas, in which children dress up as María, José and the shepherds, and walk through the streets.
  • The traditional typical dishes of the Christmas season shared in each home are stuffed chicken or chicken, puffed beef loin and marinated pork, and the dessert known as "drunken soup”.

PANAMA

  • Panamanians receive Christmas with their houses freshly painted.
  • Traditional Christmas posadas are frequently celebrated in Panama.
  • The different Panamanian companies participate with beautiful floats with Christmas motifs, accompanied by bands and troupes that fill the streets and avenues of the main cities of Panama with joy.
  • The dishes that are most seen on Panamanian tables on December 24 are: tamales, rice with chicken, potato salad, ham, turkey, bread string. Roast pork and sweet fruit.
  • The arrival of the Three Kings marks the end of Christmas in Panama and is celebrated with the family, beginning with the traditional roscón de Reyes.

PARAGUAY

  • The Christmas tradition focuses on the birth of Christ and his teachings, while churches are decorated with multicolored lights and decorations.
  • The nativity scene is very important in Paraguayan Christmas traditions, and in almost every house in the country you will find at least one nativity scene.
  • Flowers bloom throughout the country, during Christmas in Paraguay.
  • At midnight, when the church bell is heard, people gather to attend “La Misa del Gallo”.
  • On January 6, Epiphany Day (Three Kings) is celebrated.

PERU

  • Artisans from the regions gather in the Plaza de Armas to display their colorful creations in the Santurantikuy, which means “the sale of the saints”, the artisan market that opens on December 24.
  • On the night of December 24, before Christmas dinner, families go to church to celebrate the mass that commemorates the birth of Jesus.
  • In the capital, this festivity is celebrated with lights, huge Christmas trees and a wide range of shops.
  • Families gather on the night of December 24 and prepare a dinner with turkey, hot chocolate with cloves and cinnamon, panettone, applesauce, and Pisco Sour.
  • After midnight on December 24, some families usually read the coca leaves as an omen of events that are about to happen in the new year.

PUERTO RICO

  • The Christmas assault or parranda is a very popular practice in Puerto Rico. In it, a group of friends or relatives take to the streets equipped with the typical musical instruments of Christmas in Puerto Rico.
  • Parrandas are held where friends and family gather in front of a house, generally after 10:00 p.m. with instruments such as tambourines, maracas, güiros, cuatros and guitars to sing Christmas bonuses.
  • The classic festive menu consists of rice with pigeon peas, roast suckling pig and cakes. Sides can include potato salad, pasta salad, or black pudding.
  • The eight days after Three Kings Day are known in Puerto Rico as the octavitas, an extension of Christmas where people continue to party and party.

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

  • For this meeting, they usually eat some dishes such as Telera, which is a large bread; the roast pork in puya, the stuffed turkey. You also eat Russian salad, sheet cakes, coquitos and fruits.
  • Los Angelitos is a tradition similar to that of the secret friend that is celebrated in schools.
  • They gather to sing from house to house, to the rhythm of the güira, the tambora and the accordion, some Christmas carols.
  • Take out old things and clean the house with dedication to attract good luck.

URUGUAY

  • Roast, a typical dish in our country, is a must at Christmas. Nor can the traditional applause for the grill be missing, in recognition of their work.
  • Due to the summer at Christmas, water fights are common on these dates.
  • One of the traditions is to go out into the street, admire the fireworks with the neighbors and greet them with cider in hand after toasting.
  • In Montevideo the two most interesting places are "La Rambla", where people usually park their cars and play loud music, dancing and drinking on the beach.

VENEZUELA

  • It is customary to dawn in December at a Christmas mass.
  • At the Christmas table we find the main and characteristic dish of the Venezuelan Hallaca accompanied by ham bread, chicken salad, pork leg, ironed ham and countless variations of sweet salads are served.
  • Parrandas are a musical genre that is only seen in December, accompanied by cuatro and maracas.
  • The patinatas are parties or public celebrations that take place in the street, they are usually done in entire avenues that are closed at Christmas time so that children and adults can enjoy music and party.

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