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. For the nine nights leading up to Christmas, Colombian families gather in each other’s homes, traditionally to recite an old Christmas prayer. On New Years Eve it’s tradition to wear yellow underwear. They are made of corn, wrapped in plantain leaves, and boiled. Again, it’s the real sense of togetherness and community that makes this tradition special, and it’s very strong in Colombia. This is the noisiest night of the year! They are often served with natilla, a sweet dessert made out of milk, butter, panela, cinnamon, and lots of love. They also give everyone the presents One of the funniest traditions are the aguinaldos, which are games that adults and children play, like Tres Pies. Thank you for asking! Christmas carols, and enjoy traditional Christmas foods. These are cheese fritters made of cornstarch, butter and cheese. 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. Colombia isn't well known around the world for Colombian food and its cuisine. Each player tries to put one foot in the middle of the feet of the other players without being noticed. Today's event is a celebration of Colombia's multicultural heritage [source: ProExport]. When it comes to Nativity Scenes...Colombians go big! These traditions are still celebrated and help people to keep in mind the real meaning of Christmas. They decorate Christmas trees and the most important thing, the empty cradle where they place Baby Jesus on December 24. They gather around nativity scenes and sing songs, pray, and read the Bible. The last novena is the evening of December 24, when everyone remembers that Jesus came to earth. These six Colombian Christmas traditions will be familiar to everyone from Colombia, no matter where they find themselves today. Colombian folks have some very interesting Christmas traditions. 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! We hope you have enjoyed learning about some of the important Christmas holiday traditions in Colombia to celebrate Jesus’ birthday! Tradition says that each wish will come true in the New Year. Here are some of the ways various countries in Latin America celebrate Christmas. 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. 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. Sadly, these hurricanes did impact many of the children and families that we serve.…. While grandmothers cook, the rest of the family begins decorating the house, the streets, and the whole neighborhood. On the streets, they do colorful drawings. Christmas in Colombia it is also a holiday period for schools. This article was originally published Dec 24, 2010. Another popular Colombian Christmas food is tamales. 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. Meet Kenenisa. However, the sheer commitment and scale of Colombian lights and nativities are what makes them stand apart. On television, they show some of these pranks, and even newspapers join in the fun by publishing funny stories. But there are a number of delicious traditional Colombian foods worth trying. People pull pranks like giving others fake food, inventing stories and so on. 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 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. 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! Colombia has its own Christmas traditions unique to each family as well as shared traditions celebrated regionally and nationally. 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. You may be surprised to find out that in Colombia, Christmas lasts for a whole month! 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. Oh, I loved reading this! Much like some families in the U.S. will do on Christmas … 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. Christmas is coming and there is no better place to celebrate it than Colombia. Colombians sure do love a party…. Compassion and Compassion International are registered trademarks in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. 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. We hope you have a very merry Colombian Christmas! This is an important festivity in which kids and adults join at night to light velitas (little candles) in the streets and windows. Not Convinced Your Letters Matter? 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. I apologize if this post has caused any confusion. I sponsor a girl, Heidy, in Colombia and I loved this post!! On December 28 in Colombia, we celebrate the Innocent Days, a festivity centered around funny jokes. The origin of this celebration was in 1854 when Pope Pius IX defined the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary. The result is a milky jelly that can be eaten with berries, sauce or milk candy. The tradition dates back to 1854 when Pope Pius IX declared the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary to … © 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. 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 Are These the Most Inspirational Teen Girls in the World? Colombia is a country rich in diversity; its society is made up of many ethnic groups, a racial mix of European and native population. For example, peanuts are used in the Cauca region, while tamales prepared in the Eastern valley used to have turtle meat. Hi Damien! Christmas Traditions of Pereira Pereira is the capital of the Coffee Region of Colombia and the “ Paisa ” culture. Enter your e-mail address to have our posts sent directly to your inbox. What a blessed memory-trigger this morning!! During this special festivity, people sing Christmas carols, and read Bible verses, among other activities. Welcoming Christmas with a bang in Medellin. If you thought the fun ended on December 25, then you haven’t celebrated Christmas in Colombia! 8. Maria is the former field communications specialist for Compassion Colombia. These traditions are of particular importance around Christmas. 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. 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. We They are accompanied by fireworks. How long does Christmas last in Colombia? 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!!!! Another funny game is Si y No, in which you are not able to say one of those two words. 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 and our partners use cookies to better understand your needs, improve performance and provide you with personalised content and advertisements. As a European expat family, we have never spent Christmas in Colombia. 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