Christmas in Bolivia – You See Lights Lit Up Everywhere

After Carnaval, Christmas is the second most celebrated holiday in Bolivia. This holiday has some interesting characteristics that aren’t found in other places.

For instance, December is summertime in this country. Secondly, the holiday begins on the eve of Christmas, 24th Dec, and goes on until Epiphany, 6th of January.

Read on to discover why you should spend your next Christmas in this beautiful country.

Christmas Decorations

Although homeowners in Bolivia will not decorate their homes excessively, they will set up a ‘pesebre’ (stable), also known as ‘nacimientos’ (nativity scenes). Churches will similarly build larger ones and place them at the entrances.

It should also not surprise you to see Christmas trees around major cities and towns.


Although presents aren’t as popular as in other parts of the world like in the USA, some residents of Bolivia exchange gifts during this holiday. This is mostly done on Epiphany where children are gifted with new clothes.

Misa De Gallo

As a predominantly Catholic country, it’s not surprising to find most Bolivian people attending the midnight mass service on Christmas Eve.

While this is standard in most countries, the Bolivian Christmas has a twist; people carry roosters to church hence the name Misa De Gallo (Mass of the Rooster).

Misa De Gallo

This interesting practice is attributable to the fact that Bolivians believe that a rooster was the first animal to announce the birth of Jesus.

Although the significance of this practice has reduced over the years, Christians with a more traditional background continue with it relentlessly.

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Christmas Food

Most people commemorate the end of the mass with firecrackers and return home to enjoy a traditional Bolivian dinner known as Picana.

The meal is basically stew comprised of chicken, pork, beef or lamb, which is served with potatoes and corn on the comb.

Other meals served on Christmas include salads, roast turkey and ‘Lechón’ (roast pork). It’s traditional to drink hot chocolate for breakfast, which is accompanied by ‘buñuelos’ pastries.

The Christmas holiday is such a big deal in Bolivia that workers receive triple the normal salary in December.

The holiday is somewhat unique from most parts of the world and celebrations go on for two weeks.

Learn More With the Help of Video

Main Points About Christmas in Bolivia

  1. Christmas in Bolivia starts from Christmas eve until the 6th of January.
  2. Christmas is harvest time in Bolivia. The mother earth is celebrated for her generosity.
  3. Because many Bolivians are Roman Catholics, they attend the midnight mass (Misa de Gallo meaning Mass of the Rooster) on Christmas eve.
  4. The main Christmas meal is a traditional meal is ‘Picana’; a soup made of meat and served with potatoes, corn, and other vegetables. This is eaten after the midnight mass.
  5. As a law made by the government ‘El Aguinaldo’, Bolivia workers get double or triple their salaries in December.


As Christmas time equals summertime in Bolivia, it’s the season of sunny days, pools, barbecues and fresh fruit and Christmas is mostly a religious holiday spent with family, and not very commercial.

Houses and streets might be slightly decorated with for example artificial trees, but not much.

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Christmas processions carrying Baby Jesus into town take place in some villages and pretty much everyone goes to Midnight Mass at church.

Word Cloud for Christmas in Bolivia

The following is a collection of the most used terms in this article on Christmas in Bolivia. This should help in recalling related terms as used in this article at a later stage for you.

Christmas in Bolivia

Last Updated : 24 November, 2023

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23 thoughts on “Christmas in Bolivia – You See Lights Lit Up Everywhere”

  1. An incredibly informative piece that sheds light on the lesser-known aspects of Christmas in Bolivia. It’s wonderful to learn about these unique traditions.

    • I agree. The fascinating details about Bolivian Christmas customs make this article a worthwhile and engaging read.

    • The article effectively highlights the rich and varied cultural aspects of Christmas celebrations in Bolivia. A truly compelling read overall.

  2. The article effectively illustrates how Christmas in Bolivia differs from other regions. The focus on tradition and religious significance is thought-provoking.

  3. I enjoyed learning about the Christmas traditions and practices in Bolivia. It’s quite enlightening.

  4. This is such an insightful article. I’m definitely considering spending Christmas in Bolivia now!

    • I’ve never thought about celebrating Christmas in a different country before. This post really opened my eyes to that possibility.

  5. I appreciate the attention to detail in this article, especially about the Christmas decorations and food in Bolivia.

  6. Bolivian Christmas traditions are fascinating and it’s great to see how they’re celebrated in a different climate.

  7. The description of Christmas traditions in Bolivia is truly captivating. I’m impressed by the depth of cultural information presented here.

    • Absolutely. It’s articles like this that offer a broader perspective on global celebrations and customs.

  8. Fascinating insight into Christmas celebrations in Bolivia. The unique customs and special meals really capture the imagination.

    • Absolutely, it’s always interesting to learn about different cultural celebrations. Thanks for sharing this.

  9. The description of Christmas celebrations in Bolivia provides a fresh perspective compared to the typical holiday traditions we’re used to.

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