Christmas in Colombia

Colombia officially known as the Republic of Colombia is a unitary constitutional republic located in northwestern South America. It is bordered to the northwest by Panama; to the north by the Caribbean Sea; to the east by Venezuela and Brazil to the south by Ecuador and Peru and to the west by the Pacific Ocean.

The Capital and largest city of this country is Bogotá, D.C.

Christmas in Colombia

Christmas Celebrations in Colombia :

90% of Colombians are Roman Catholic, hence Christmas celebrations in Colombia are grand.

Christmas is a public holiday in Colombia and is primarily a religious celebration.

Also Read : Christmas Lights in Medellín 2019

Christmas decorations may be put up as early as the beginning of November. Begin in early December with a ceremony in honor of the Virgin Mary. The unofficial start of Colombian Christmas festivities takes place on December 7, Día de las Velitas, or “Day of the Candles.” At night, the streets, sidewalks, balconies, porches, and driveways are decorated with candles and paper lanterns, which illuminate cities and towns in a yellow glow to honor the Immaculate Conception on the following day, December 8. In many cities, and even in small rural towns, neighborhoods get together and decorate their whole neighborhood or street, turning streets into virtual “tunnels of light.” Many radio stations and local organizations hold contests for the best display of lights, making the competition for the best light show a serious event. Activities such as musical events and firework displays are planned by cities and held during this time. Individually launched fireworks were a common item during the Christmas season in Colombia, often going on at any time of the day in many cities. However, a recent ban has decreased the individual use of fireworks, and now only cities or towns are able to hold firework displays.

Christmas celebrations in Colombia

December 16 is the first day of the Christmas Novena, a devotion consisting of prayer said on nine successive days, the last one held on Christmas Eve. The Novena is promoted by the Catholic Church as a staple of Christmas, and is very similar to the posadas celebrated in Mexico. It is a call for an understanding of the religious meaning of Christmas, and a way to counter the commercialism of the Christmas season. Individual traditions concerning the Novena may vary, but most families set up a “pesebre”, sing religious Christmas carols called villancicos accompanied by tambourines, bells, and other simple percussion instruments, and read verses from the Bible as well as an interpretation which may change from year to year. Novenas serve as beautiful religious gatherings as well as learning environments for young children since kids have a central and active role in the celebration of the Novenas. From December 16 to 18, games called “aguinaldos” are played after having made a “pinky promise” deciding the prize for the winner and the punishment for the loser. The games include “Hablar y no contestar”, “Pajita en boca”, “Tres pies”, “Beso robado”, and “Si y al no”. Churches offer dawn and nightly masses during the nine days of the novena, culminating with the Misa de Gallo (Rooster’s Mass) on Christmas Eve at midnight.

Families join Christmas Day mass although it is not nearly as festive as Christmas Eve. The Christmas meal often includes a special chicken soup called Ajiaco, homemade breads, fritters, roast port and natilla, a corn-based dessert. The “Dia de los Santos Inocentes”, or the Day of the Innocents, falls in the Christmas season, on December 28. The day commemorates the innocent infants who were said to have been killed by King Herod in fear of the power of the newborn baby, Jesus. 6 January, the day of the Revelation of the Magi (Epiphany), is called “Reyes Magos” (from The Three Magi), used to be a day of gift giving, but is celebrated less now since gifts are given mostly around Christmas Eve today. Some families still give presents, and it is also the day when godparents give Christmas presents.

Presents are brought by El Niño Jesus / Niño Dios (Baby Jesus) or Papá Noél (Santa Claus).

Wishing all readers Merry Christmas 2019 & Happy New Year 2020 !!!