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“Hispanic Christmas Traditions”

Sofia Gongora, Staff Writer

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Christmas is one of the most popular Hispanic traditions. And there are many wonderful customs and practices associated with it. Some of the most popular traditions are:

Las posadas and las pastorelas – Posadas are re-enactments of the time when Mary and Joseph were looking for a place to stay before Jesus was born. Las pastorelas are plays that retell the story of Christmas. These two Hispanic traditions are particularly popular in Central America.

La cena de Noche Buena (Christmas Eve’s family dinner) – A very special night celebrated with family and close friends. Food plays an important role during this celebration and each country has its own special dish.

Brindis – This is where the family gets together at midnight on Noche Buena and makes a toast. They clink their alcohol-filled glasses to eachothers and hug it out.

La misa de gallo (Midnight Mass) – This special mass is celebrated at the stroke of midnight and it commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ. Hispanics don’t wait until Christmas day to open presents or to do brindis. It all starts at midnight and goes on until after the first day of the new year is over.

 

La quema de polvora y luces de navidad (fireworks and sparklers) – Fireworks of every kind are very popular during this time of year.

 

Los farolitos y luminarias (festive lanterns) – Many communities celebrate the Day of the Immaculate Conception by lighting candles and lanterns. In some countries this special celebration takes place on December 7th. It is also known as El Dia de las Luces (Day of the Lights).

 

Los villancicos de navidad (Christmas carols) – Different countries have special folk songs to celebrate Christmas. In Puerto Rico such Christmas songs are called “aguinaldos”.

 

La carta al niño Dios (Christmas letter to Baby Jesus) – Latino children write letters to el niño instead of Santa Claus, even though Santa Claus is growing more and more popular with each generation.

 

El nacimiento (The Nativity Scene) – The nativity scene plays a prominent role during Christmas. It is usually placed below the Christmas tree and it can get quite elaborate.

 

Los reyes magos (The Three Kings) – Even though the day of the Three Kings falls in January, they are important players during Christmas celebrations.

 

Decorar con pascuas (decorate with poinsettia flowers) – Natural and artificial poinsettias add the Christmas touch (toque navideño) to homes and offices.

 

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“Hispanic Christmas Traditions”