Christmas Traditions

In this special time of year, I would like to interrupt our MultiTerm classes in order to talk about the different ways in which Christmas is celebrated in different parts of the world.

While the objective of the celebration may be the same, in every country different traditions are adopted.

In Argentina, children write letters to Santa Claus asking him for toys that they want as presents. The presents that Santa Claus leaves under the tree are opened, by children as well as adults (who also receive gifts), at midnight during the family dinner on the 24th; they don’t have to go to bed trying to guess what present Santa Claus left them for being good all year.

In Bolivia, it is not common to see lights and decoration as in other countries, since they celebrate Christmas with the joy of the heart. The display of lights is reserved for New Year’s.

In Chile, Santa Claus receives the name of “Viejo Pascuero” (“Christmas Old Man”). On Christmas Eve, a complete dinner is prepared and served at 9 p.m. and the dessert is called “Pan de Pascua” (“Christmas Bread”). Presents are opened at midnight during the family dinner on the 24th as in Argentina. The celebration of the holidays ends the 6th of January, the day which is called “La Pascua de los Negros” (“The Christmas of the Blacks”), in honor of one of the Three Wise Men who came from Africa.

In Colombia, the 6th of January is the day in which the godchildren receive presents. The godparents are very special people in the life of the children, since they are like guardian angels that could substitute the parents.

In Costa Rica, the celebrations begin the first day of December and end the 2nd of February, forty days after the birth of Jesus.

In Cuba, the Christmas traditions were maintained only two years after the 1959 Revolution, due to the imposition of the Marxist system.

In the Dominican Republic, on Christmas Eve, once the food is ready it is shared amongst neighbors and the needy. Finally, the close family gathers for dinner before attending Midnight Mass.

What are the Christmas traditions in your country?