Christmas Colombia is characterized by colorful lights, scrumptious traditional foods, and downright wacky traditions.
The arrival of December comes with a bang as the residents fill the air with fireworks and smoke on the night of 30th November.
The Christmas cheer begins on the 7th and continues to the 28th of December.
Read on to find out how Colombians spend their Christmas holiday.
The Day of Little Candles
While Catholics worldwide will customarily celebrate the 7th day of December as the eve of the immaculate conception of the Virgin Mary, nobody does it in style like the Colombians.
They light up the streets, balconies, windowsills, and parks using differently colored candles and paper lanterns.
Bogota, the Colombian capital, further closes several streets to allow the people to admire the Christmas lights.
During the nine days preceding Christmas, most Colombians take part in the Novena de Aguinaldos.
On the nights of 16th to 24th of December, friends and families will often gather in a home to recite the special prayer.
Also, they sing a variety of Christmas carols, drink and eat yummy delicacies like Buñuelos and natilla.
The gathering usually moves from house to house every other night until Christmas Eve.
While decorated Christmas trees, lights and nativity scenes are the norms of every Christmas celebration, the Colombians take the decorations a notch higher.
Millions of differently colored lights woven into various patterns string up from building to building all over the cities.
The Medellin River turns into an extravaganza as it features kilometers of rope lighting. The lights follow a theme describing the story of Paloma—a girl who traveled the river of peace.
The Colombians also create elaborate nativity scenes featuring running water, real plants and giant figures of Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus, as well as sheep and donkey.
These scenes are placed at the lobbies of hotels, public buildings, and apartment complexes.
Christmas in Colombians cannot be complete without exchanging gifts with friends and families.
Children write letters to Baby Jesus (Carta al Niño Dios), asking Him to bring them their desired presents.
The letters are placed in the Pesebre and kids go about their day with the hope that Jesus will bring them exactly what they requested on Christmas Eve.
The main Christmas meal (Cena de Navidad) is served on Christmas Eve.
The tables are jam-packed with scrumptious traditional goodies and treats like Lechona, ham, turkey, arepas, and hojuelas (fried pastry dusted with sugar).
For dessert, the Colombians enjoy a custard dish made with milk, which is eaten alongside Buñuelos (cheesy fritters).
After enjoying the meal, most people attend the midnight mass while others spend the night drinking rum.
Christmas in Colombia is a day of relaxing and spending time with friends and relatives.
Day of the Innocents
The Christmas celebrations hardly stop on the 25th of December; on the 28th (Dia de los innocentes), the Colombians spend the entire day cracking jokes and pulling pranks on each other.
Local TV stations also air stupid and funny mistakes made by people throughout the year.
Christmas in Colombia signifies a time for celebrations, family traditions and a variety of customary cuisines.
The cities are filled with creative nativity scenes and explode in spectacular lighting patterns and that are so creative that they attract tourists from all over the world.
Learn More With the Help of Video
Main Points About Christmas in Colombia
- Christmas festivity and preparations start on the evening of the 7th day of December. It is called the ‘Dia de las Velitas’ meaning ‘Day of the Little Candles’.
- Christmas trees and other decorations are very common in homes and other public places.
- On Christmas eve, the Christmas meal is eaten. The meal contains rice, peas, chicken, ham, turkey, chicken, custard, corn, fritters sugar, jam and so much more.
- There is a midnight mass ‘Mass of the Rooster’ which many people choose to attend after the Christmas meal.
- Novenas are usually very popular during the yuletide. From the 16th until Christmas eve, families, neighbors and loved ones set aside special times to pray together.
Leading up to Christmas, Dia de las Velitas, or ”Day of the little candles on December 7th and ”novenas”, from December 16th take place in Colombia.
The Day of the little candles marks the start of the Christmas season and novenas are times for family and friends to come together and pray.
Houses are decorated and the main Christmas meal. ”Cena de Navidad” will be served on Christmas Eve.
Word Cloud for Christmas in Colombia
The following is a collection of the most used terms in this article on Christmas in Colombia. This should help in recalling related terms as used in this article at a later stage for you.
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Chara Yadav holds MBA in Finance. Her goal is to simplify finance-related topics. She has worked in finance for about 25 years. She has held multiple finance and banking classes for business schools and communities. Read more at her bio page.