Christmas In Colombia

Christmas In Colombia
Staff

Since Colombia is about 90% Roman Catholic, the Christian aspects of Christmas are

the most celebrated. The Christmas season in Colombia starts on December 7th

when families light candles in honor of the Virgin Mary. The church celebrates the

8th of December as the day of the Imaculate Conception. This is a Colombian

National Holiday and a day of Obligation with the church. It is celebrated with a

display of lights as each home will light approximately 100 candles on the curb and

sidewalk area. City streets and parks are illuminated with large christmas lights as

well.

On December 16th Colombina families typically start setting up the Christmas tree -

which is artificial for ecological reasons. The Christmas tree is decorated with lights

and bowls. Families set up Nativity scenes which are either plastic or hand crafted

figures. Everyone in the family contributes on this day.

From December 16th through December 24th, families usually gather together at

night around Nativity scenes to pray and sing carols in the Novena. On Christmas

Eve family members and neighbors gather to eat and dance. (Traditional Colombian

foods include: Ajiaco – a soup with potatoes, chicken and natilla – a corn based

dessert and buñuelos.) Everyone waits until midnight to wish each other Merry

Christmas and to exchange gifts.

Traditionally, “El Niño Jesus”, the Christ Child is the one who would bring you the

gifts. But recently Santa Claus has been introduced as a gift giver as well. Children

get up on Christmas morning and find gifts at the foot of their beds. Christmas trees

are in the house but mostly used for decorations.

January 6th is another national holiday and represents the day when the wise men

reach the Nativity with their gives. Some people also give gifts on this day but

Decemeber 25th is still the main holiday nationally and within the Catholic

community.

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