In Colombia, they reserve the nine days before Christmas for prayer. Some eat turkey, lechona (pork filled with rice and peas), among other typical dishes. Starbucks opened its 1000th store in Latin America, and the first in the city of Medellín, Colombia. Meet Kenenisa. They decorate Christmas trees and the most important thing, the empty cradle where they place Baby Jesus on December 24. You still see lots of images and colourful lights bearing the image of jolly old Santa, but that’s more down to the influence of TV and movies than a cultural thing. These traditions are still celebrated and help people to keep in mind the real meaning of Christmas. Christmas is a special time of year. Colombia is the home of many colorful festivals and traditions taking place throughout the year, with many Colombia holidays largely dictated by the Catholic calendar. Here are some of the ways various countries in Latin America celebrate Christmas. These six Colombian Christmas traditions will be familiar to everyone from Colombia, no matter where they find themselves today. Compassion and Compassion International are registered trademarks in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. This is the noisiest night of the year! One of the funniest traditions are the aguinaldos, which are games that adults and children play, like Tres Pies. On December 28 in Colombia, we celebrate the Innocent Days, a festivity centered around funny jokes. Yes I too loved this post as it gave me wonderful things to talk to my little one (girl) in Colombia… talking to her about traditions and the light of Christ (candles) etc… and even to be able to weave the Si/No game into my letter… it was great fun to know current information regarding things she will be participating in culturally in a timely fashion…thank you so much and it is also great to connect with others who have children in Colombia…perhaps we can travel there together someday!!!! On television, they show some of these pranks, and even newspapers join in the fun by publishing funny stories. Christmas Traditions of Pereira Pereira is the capital of the Coffee Region of Colombia and the “ Paisa ” culture. Much like some families in the U.S. will do on Christmas … Christmas carols, and enjoy traditional Christmas foods. I apologize if this post has caused any confusion. You will see these glowing beacons lighting the streets of all Colombian towns and cities on this day. Christmas Lights – Alumbrados Houses, apartments, churches, office buildings, streets, parks and gardens up and down the country are lit up like Christmas trees at this time of year. Colombia is a country rich in diversity; its society is made up of many ethnic groups, the largest being the mestizo population – a racial mix of European and native population. Are These the Most Inspirational Teen Girls in the World? Some people might think it seems a tad mean to have Baby Jesus delivering the presents – it is his birthday and all – but it’s an important Colombian Christmas tradition nonetheless. What a blessed memory-trigger this morning!! Families have their traditions to mark the festive year and some of those traditions are rooted in culture. Signifying the arrival of December (on Nov 30th) at midnight (or more often before midnight), the sky is filled with fireworks, gunpowder, firecrackers, and smoke. Offices and homes are decorated with lanterns and candles that welcome the holiday season. The Dia de las Velitas, or Day of the Little Candles, is how most Colombians welcome the Christmas season. The government decorates streets, parks and buildings, and promotes contests to award the best block, home, neighborhood, and mall. Her farorite part is the nativity scene and the verses that they read about the baby Jesus. She wrote that she loves the lights in the city and park and of course the presents. Enter your e-mail address to have our posts sent directly to your inbox. As a European expat family, we have never spent Christmas in Colombia. For the nine nights leading up to Christmas, Colombian families gather in each other’s homes, traditionally to recite an old Christmas prayer. If you've ever wondered who first decided to bring trees inside to celebrate Christmas, or where advent calendars come from, we've tracked some popular festive traditions – as How long does Christmas last in Colombia? They are accompanied by fireworks. All Rights Reserved. We even have our own version of Santa Claus and we celebrate it on December 24th, not on the 25th as in … Another funny game is Si y No, in which you are not able to say one of those two words. Each player tries to put one foot in the middle of the feet of the other players without being noticed. This is a culture that has always remained very close and conscious to … The Colombian Christmas spirit begins when grandmas join in the kitchen to begin preparing all the delicious traditional Colombian Christmas foods for the holiday season. We The most typical Colombian Christmas traditions include eating natilla (a custard dish resembling a flan) and buñuelos (fried dough balls) and attending a Novena de Aguinaldos, when families come together to eat, sing carols Starting with Dia de las Velitas, or “Day of the Little Candles”, on 7 December, 30 days of festivities follow before the holiday finishes on 6 January with the celebration of the Three Kings. Another Medellin Christmas tradition and a divisive one at that are the Alboradas – every December 1, to welcome the Christmas season, it’s traditional to blow up a tonne of fireworks throughout the city. The city has banned the use of gunpowder now with stiff fines for anyone who is caught with it, but that doesn’t stop an… Customs across Colombia vary from region to region, but in general this is how people from this party-crazy country celebrate the festive season. The Dia de las Velitas, or Day of the Little Candles, is how most Colombians welcome the Christmas season. 7. You may be surprised to find out that in Colombia, Christmas lasts for a whole month! Another popular Colombian Christmas food is tamales. Learn more about Compassion’s work in Colombia to help children living in poverty! Christmas Celebration In Different Countries Here we are sharing a list of different places that have their own way to celebrate Christmas. You will find elaborate nativity scenes – sometimes complete with running water or real plants – in the lobby of most apartment buildings and hotels. Officially, Christmas traditions in Colombia begin on December 7 when Colombian people celebrate El Día de las Velitas, or Day of the Little Candles. Some of them also have rice, peas, eggs, carrots, bacon and chicken. bunhuelos  /  Christmas  /  Colombia  /  culture and traditions  /  Roman Catholic  /  South America, im spanish and hispanic and i still dont know how they dressed 100 years ago on cristmas what a shame. Help provide food, medical care and support during this pandemic. People pull pranks like giving others fake food, inventing stories and so on. There is no traffic jam during this time. One of the most popular dishes is buñuelos, originally from Jewish and Arabian culture. I lived in Panama for 4 years growing up so had a little…, Hi Linn! On the streets, they do colorful drawings. Delicious food, religious ceremonies and family games are just some of the historic components of Christmas traditions in Colombia. The image of the Virgin Mary and the Baby Jesus are important figures, rather than Santa Claus. Aguinaldos is the name given to fun little games played by children and adults during the Christmas period. It’s divisive due to repeated safety concerns and the incredible noise that comes from thousands of people blowing up gunpowder all night! These traditions are of particular importance around Christmas. Christmas in Colombia it is also a holiday period for schools. Oh, I loved reading this! Obviously, Christmas lights and nativity scenes are not particularly unusual or unique to Colombia. A few days later, Colombia celebrates Innocent Saints Day, the local equivalent of April Fool’s Day, on which it is traditional to play light hearted pranks. This is without doubt the best time of the year and as it flies by so quickly people can’t wait to celebrate – you might sometimes see Christmas adornments mixed in with Halloween decorations. To allow us to provide a better and more tailored experience please click "OK", Christmas time in Colombia | © Luz Adriana Villa / Flickr. Christmas traditions in Colombia are one of a kind. After the glow of Christmas had faded, it’s a great way to get your spirits back up in preparation for the New Year. However, the company’s first store was inaugurated in Colombia in the capital city of Bogotá in 2014. This specific blog focuses on present day Christmas celebrations in Colombia. Maria is the former field communications specialist for Compassion Colombia. Hi Damien! While many countries await the arrival of Santa Claus bearing gifts for the kids, in Colombia, it’s a little different: children stay up until late on December 24 to receive presents delivered by…the Baby Jesus himself! On television, they show some of these pranks, and even newspapers join in the fun by publishing funny stories. It’s really interesting to learn how other places celebrate Christmas. On Christmas night, families share special dinners, depending on which region of Colombia they are in. This is an important festivity in which kids and adults join at night to light velitas (little candles) in the streets and windows. On December 28 in Colombia, we celebrate the Innocent Days, a festivity centered around funny jokes. In the evening on December 7, people place paper lanterns and candles are placed on porches, balconies, streets, sidewalks, squares and parks in cities and pueblos throughout Colombia. Tradition says that each wish will come true in the New Year. Christmas is coming and there is no better place to celebrate it than Colombia. © 2021 Compassion International. On December 16 the novenas begin, a special moment of the day in which families, friends and neighbors join to pray on nine successive days, commemorating the birth of Jesus. Fun though…. Yellow Underwear. Sometimes familiar, sometimes foreign, often odd, and sometimes downright strange, these 30 traditions from around the world have one thing in common: they're all about Christmas. Colombia has some totally unique Christmas traditions and festivals, so here are some of the most unique and unusual ones. The country is very Catholic, therefore Christmas in Colombia is still authentic and not yet so commercial compared to other countries. These are cheese fritters made of cornstarch, butter and cheese. Colombia is a country rich in diversity; its society is made up of many ethnic groups, a racial mix of European and native population. Whether you are spending the holiday season in Colombia or simply want to learn more about the culture, this blog post will give you the details about all the food If you thought the fun ended on December 25, then you haven’t celebrated Christmas in Colombia! If you have never experienced a Colombian Christmas, you sure are missing out. Thank you for asking! In anticipation of this event, people started lighting candles. This article was originally published Dec 24, 2010. We hope you have a very merry Colombian Christmas! It came to Latin America during the Spanish colonization. I have been to Nicaragua on Mission trips to build schools and teach VBS at an orphanage on the island…, Thank you for the information about Nicaragua. By the way, why aren’t there currently any children to sponsor from Colombia on the Compassion website? While many people still maintain the religious aspect, it has evolved a bit into a good excuse to get together for nine straight nights to eat, drink and generally be merry! They are made of corn, wrapped in plantain leaves, and boiled. However, the sheer commitment and scale of Colombian lights and nativities are what makes them stand apart. Our first Compassion Child, a teenage girl, lives in Columbia! In Colombia we start getting ready for Christmas as early as November with houses and malls lighting up all over the country. Today's event is a celebration of Colombia's multicultural heritage [source: ProExport]. On Christmas night, families share a special dinner, then give everyone the presents that the Baby Jesus brought. Day of the Little Candles. The last novena is the evening of December 24, when everyone remembers that Jesus came to earth. Facts About Nicaragua: The Land of Lakes and Volcanoes, How These Sponsors Raised $120,000 for Children in Poverty, Let's Make 2021 an Epic Year of Gratitude and Praise, Facts About Togo: A West African Treasure, Best of the Blog 2020: Your Favorite Stories of the Year. Some eat turkey, lechona (pork filled with rice and peas), among other typical dishes. Colombia comes alive with bright Christmas traditions involving festivals, markets, street food, and more from Medellin and Bogota There’s a palpable sense of sweet anticipation for the alumbrados, a tradition which started in 1955 and has grown into one of the most impressive holiday lighting exhibitions in the world. On New Years Eve it’s tradition to wear yellow underwear. Welcoming Christmas with a bang in Medellin. Families in poverty have no safety net in times of crisis. They also give everyone the presents Giving your house a spring clean on New Year's Eve in Colombia is thought to rid the house of negative energy Getty via Canva Bathing in the river Ridding any bad energy doesn’t stop at the house. It is custom to eat one grape per chime and make a wish as you eat each grape. Again, it’s the real sense of togetherness and community that makes this tradition special, and it’s very strong in Colombia. We hope you have enjoyed learning about some of the important Christmas holiday traditions in Colombia to celebrate Jesus’ birthday! I sponsor a little lady in Colombia named Karen. Sadly, these hurricanes did impact many of the children and families that we serve.…. Every December 7, families take to the streets to light hundreds of little candles, which are meant to light the way of the Virgin Mary as she comes to bless their home. Because everyone is encouraged to follow this custom, many of the small houses are also carefully decorated. On Christmas night, families share special dinners, depending on which region of Colombia they are in. I sponsor a girl, Heidy, in Colombia and I loved this post!! Finally, to celebrate the New Year, Colombians have a long-standing tradition of eating 12 grapes as the clock strikes midnight. Christmas is coming, and with it its myriad traditions. That is very special and of course so is she. November 16, 2020, 10:45 am Everyone has their own Christmas traditions, whether they People pull pranks like giving others fake food, inventing stories and so on. Colombian Food #4: Ajiaco Soup Ajiaco soup is a Colombian chicken and potato soup, typically served with corn on the cob, chopped avocado, capers and a drizzle of sour cream. Here are five ways to ensure you pass the festive season like a local. In addition, the Christmas season in Colombia unofficially tends to start on December 7, which is known as Día de las Velitas (Day of Candles). But there are a number of delicious traditional Colombian foods worth trying. How a Brave 12-Year-Old Girl Escaped From Forced Marriage, The Thoughtful Christmas Surprise That Relieved a Worried Mom, How These 4 Heroes Are Helping Kids Right Now, This is What Happens When You Send a Letter to the Child You Sponsor, 20 Photos That Capture How Awesome Children Are, The Top 5 Reasons These Kids Are Grateful Will Make You Grateful Too. Colombian folks have some very interesting Christmas traditions. Basically, it’s a period of nine days before Christmas when families come together, eat, drink and pray. Please join us on an exploration of Christmas in Colombia! One of the most popular and commonly played is known as Tres Pies: players try to surreptitiously slip one foot in between the feet of their opponents without them noticing. The origin of this celebration was in 1854 when Pope Pius IX defined the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary. The tamales vary according to the region. At Christmas adults and kids love preparing this recipe and sharing it. Like many people who left Colombia and have been in another country for a … And the Christmas lights take it to another level: Medellin, in particular, is famous for the millions of lights they string up in the city every Christmas. Bogota becomes empty at least till half January. Learn more about it. Every December 7, families take to the streets to light hundreds of little candles, which are meant to light the way of the Virgin Mary as she comes to bless their home. People continue to gather together each night up until December 24. Children in Colombia are deeply involved in the holiday traditions… We are an organization whose mission is to alleviate children from poverty and our blog is used to inform sponsor’s of cultural traditions in the countries in which we work. On December 28, the whole country celebrates the Day of the Innocents: people pull pranks, play practical jokes, and just generally try to amuse each other and themselves! Learn about Christmas in Colombia and traditional Christmas traditions and celebrations in Colombia! The result is a milky jelly that can be eaten with berries, sauce or milk candy. Today I want to share some of the Christmas and New Year’s traditions that I grew up with in Colombia. Colombia has its own Christmas traditions unique to each family as well as shared traditions celebrated regionally and nationally. The streets are normally decorated with plastic colorful flags and lights. The final event in the December calendar is the celebration of New Year on Whatever the region or the ritual, you will surely love these Christmas tradition around the world.. They are often served with natilla, a sweet dessert made out of milk, butter, panela, cinnamon, and lots of love. 8. While grandmothers cook, the rest of the family begins decorating the house, the streets, and the whole neighborhood. It will be a night you will never forget because the fireworks continue all night long, even until the early morning. They gather around nativity scenes and sing songs, pray, and read the Bible. During this special festivity, people sing Christmas carols, and read Bible verses, among other activities. This Catholic tradition continues to be an important Christmas tradition in Colombia. Colombia fills trees, lights, fireworks and festivities at Christmas, from the capital city of Bogota to the Caribbean coast and all the way into mountain villages. Another popular one is Si o No – basically, you can’t say one of those words. Colombians sure do love a party…. Christmas traditions vary all around the world, and celebrating Christmas outside your own country or away from your family can seem like an odd or even alien experience the first time you do it. The tradition dates back to 1854 when Pope Pius IX declared the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary to … Christmas in Colombia is like no other. In Colombia, the Christmas celebrations get started earlier than in most places with El Día de las Velitas (the Day of the Little Candles) on December 7. ‘Novenas’ are one of the more religious Christmas traditions observed in Colombia – every single night, on the nine days running up to Christmas (which is celebrated in Colombia on the night of December 24) families gather to We and our partners use cookies to better understand your needs, improve performance and provide you with personalised content and advertisements. Colombia is a country full of rich history and festive celebrations when the Christmas season rolls around. We lived in Colombia for 6 yrs – how I miss bunuelos, lechona, the fireworks, Nativity displays @ the grocery stores & shopping centers!!!! Not Convinced Your Letters Matter? Colombia isn't well known around the world for Colombian food and its cuisine. When it comes to Nativity Scenes...Colombians go big! 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