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Colombian traditions to celebrate Christmas.


Christmas traditions are very important for Colombians as they reflect the country’s culture. Everyone celebrates these festivities, even the people who live overseas celebrate this time of union and magic despite the distance.


Everything revolves around family, the Catholic traditions and the delicious food.


In Colombia, the Christmas season lasts a full month, seriously! And we are not exaggerating, it officially begins on: December 7 and finishes on January 6.


Here is a list including some of the most important traditions, so that you can carry them out wherever you are at and get to experience a truly Colombian Christmas:


1. THE DAY OF THE CANDLES. That night is magical, and it commemorates the moment when the Archangel Gabriel announced to Mary that she was chosen, from before her birth, to be the mother of Jesus. On this day, the Christmas streetlights get turn on and the Christmas officially begins. Some places, such as Medellín and Villa de Leyva, surprise every year with their decorations and fantastic Christmas atmosphere.


For Colombians, going out to see the lights is a lovely activity to share with family and friends.


2. The traditional ceremony of the FIRST COMMUNION (Catholic religious ceremony) is held on December 8, the day of the Immaculate Conception in this ceremony, the little ones receive communion for the first time in a special Eucharist full of symbolism and love.


3. THE NATIVITY SCENE is, without a doubt, one of the most representative Christmas traditions of Colombia. It is the way in which the birth of the Child God is recreated in each home. All the family members participate when putting it together, bringing out creativity and creating an original scene including elements such as villages, rivers, sheep and human figures. It is usually placed in a spacious and colourful place in the house.


You can find nativity scenes of all sizes. From small ones, which are placed in the houses, to the largest and most innovative, which are assembled in parks and squares to be visited by families. There are also very Colombian versions of this Christmas tradition, in which, for example, the dolls have traditional costumes.


4. THE NOVENA OF AGUINALDOS: For nine days, leading up to Christmas evening, families and friends gather around the Nativity Scene to pray and sing carols to the rhythm of instruments such as maracas and tambourine. It is an opportunity to show gratitude and prepare to receive Christmas. The “novena de aguinaldos” is a Christmas tradition that all Colombians remember with great affection and recreate abroad, because in addition to being a space to get closer to spirituality, it is the perfect time to party, get in touch with family and friends and eat, eat and eat.


5. THE CHRISTMAS TREE Christmas tradition that can’t be missed – we meet at the beginning of December to assemble it, choose its ornaments, define its colours and untangle the lights. It usually has classic elements, such as Christmas balls, and very Colombian elements, such as crafts made by the youngers of the family.


Christmas gifts are given by the child God and not Santa Claus and they are put under tree on Christmas Eve.


6. DINKS: Colombians like to accompany their celebrations with a TRAGUITO to keep the party going. Although the “aguardiente” also called 'guaro' is the most popular, we also share rum, wine, beer and others.


7. DINNER: chicken is a protagonist ingredient in many traditional dishes: ajiaco is not ajiaco without chicken and tamal is not tamal without chicken!


8. BONUS GAMES: Groups of friends and co-workers play the traditional "Aguinaldos", a fun way to celebrate the end of the year festivities.


9. New Year's Eve: AÑO VIEJO. On New Year’s Eve a doll made out of old clothes and newspaper, representing the old year is burned. After 12pm, we get together and burn the “Año Viejo” to bid farewell to the year that is gone.


10. Christmas ends on January 6 in the celebration of the Magic, remembering the arrival of the kings of eastern territories who brought as a gift gold, incension and myrrh for the future king of kings: the Child Jesus. ... The wise men are part of the representations of Bethlehem or the manger because they are characters who were present at the birth of Jesus.


This is without saying that some do not put up with the desire and begin to assemble the tree in November to awaken the spirit of Christmas as soon as possible.


These are just some things that we Colombians do to celebrate Christmas, have fun, share with the family and live the end of the year holidays as you can only do in Colombia.


LARM, your home away from home!



Key words:

New Year’s Eve, Christmas, Family, Tradition, Colombia, Counseling, Colombian Nationality, Support, Accompaniment, Relocation, LARM.


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