Chile officially the Republic of Chile is a South American country occupying a long, narrow strip of land between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far south. Along with Ecuador, it is one of two countries in South America that do not border Brazil. Chilean territory includes the Pacific islands of Juan Fernández, Salas y Gómez, Desventuradas and Easter Island.
The Capital and largest city of this country is Santiago.
Christmas Celebrations in Chile :
Since Chile sits in the southern hemisphere, Christmas arrives in the middle of summer. Chileans have a really “warm” Christmas celebration. Preparations for Christmas start nearly a month prior to the actual festive day. Chileans love adorning their homes with brilliant lights, Christmas trees and balloons on Christmas. The Christmas tree is set up one or two days before the festive day and decorated with tiny clay figures known as ‘pesebre’. Elaborate scenes from the nativity are put up and clay/wooden figures are used to represent the Holy Family and other religious characters.
The Chilean Christmas celebration is a spiritual affair and is held much in accordance with the true Christian way. Church services are held on a daily basis throughout the entire Christmas season but the actual holy observances begin from nine days before Christmas Day, when Chileans begin a special prayer service along with spiritual preparation known as “Novena” – a Roman Catholic ritual. For the entire nine-day period leading to Christmas, prayers are observed by every pious Christian in the country. A visit to the local churches are made, carols are sung and passages related to the nativity are also read from the Holy Bible. On Christmas Eve, Catholics attend the Midnight Mass followed by a sumptuous dinner with the extended members of their family.
Near midnight gifts are exchanged and opened. Kids will take their new bikes or other toys and head out into the streets to show them off and to play with friends. This excitement is carried over to adults who often stay up late on Christmas Eve celebrating with friends and family. Families usually gather together by late afternoon on Christmas Eve to begin the celebrations. A large dinner is served in the late evening. This consists of typical Chilean foods, oven roasted chicken, turkey, or other special meal. Pan de Pascua, a sweet fruit cake dessert, is always a staple for this holiday. Traditional drink called “Rompon” and “Cola de Mono” or “Monkey’s Tail,” made from coffee, milk, liquor, cinnamon, and sugar, is served during Christmas. The Christmas Eve dinner traditionally delicacies like “Azuela de ave” (a special chicken soup).
Gifts are enjoyed and the children will take their new toys out and play. You will see lots of kids on new bikes and skates. People will also go and visit friends and family during the day. Some families have the tradition of going to the pool or beach on Christmas. For those at home, television channels’ programming is filled up with Christmas movies and cartoons.
Chileans call Santa “Viejito Pascuero” which means Old Man Christmas or even “Papa Noel.”
Everyone wishes another ‘Feliz Navidad’/ Merry Christmas.
Wishing all readers Merry Christmas 2019 & Happy New Year 2020 !!!