Christmas habits differ highly depending on the culture, climate and social standart. To give you a glimpse of habits related to Christmas in Colombia I asked my Colombian friends to write me some comments about their customs. I am happy that so many people participated in this collaboration.
I want to thank all participants via this way. Reading through the comments I was surprised how much customs still differ in the same cultural circle, that maybe due to age groups and geographical region. Others, are quite similar to what I know from central Europe. But judge for yourself…
Sandra, Bogotá, 40: „I don’t use to do much in Christmas anymore. In the past the tradition was quite different, …. Currently, people try to get this time as a holiday to travel mainly and not as a religious tradition.”
Lorena, La Argentina, 30: I did not celebrate christmas for ages. But what everybody use to do is to close the streets and play music and pass time with their families dancing until dawn. This is always depending on the family. Some prepare the famous BBQ from this area and meet at home, others prefer to celebrate with music and dance.
Luis, Barbossa, 30: I did not celebrate any holiday, national nor international since I was 10 years old. I connect all these days with capitalism. I am more dedicated to meet my family even if there is no reason assigned by special days to do so. On the other hand I like to watch other people celebrate these days, which is probably due to my interest in anthropology. So I treat the Christmas eve and the 25th like a normal day. That applies also to my own birthday. I would not give it much extraordinary thought. I don’t call anybody. If there is a meeting of people I would like to see I meet I would go and meet them for this reason. They say I am strange but each year I find more people with the same set of mind. Sometimes I feel like I was born in the wrong place 🙂
Adriana, Bogotá, 35: For me, Christmas is family time. We have meetups with all our people. I mean really all: Cousins, Grandparents, Parents, Oncles, Aunts and all the kids around. We would meet like 4pm and start preparing the dinner and meanwhile we eat lunch. That is normally the female part. The guys would have some drinks and talk in the living room. We play a bunch of games like “Pajita en Boca” which is a group game. Everybody puts some sweets in his mouth, but one doesn’t and the group has to find out who. Like this points will be collected. Another cool plan is to visit the march of the lights in the city centre. Well, christmas is a family date and all would drink and eat a lot and dance like crazy. The most important drink would be the “Canelazo” a warm and fermented fruit drink with herbs and cinnamon.
Nicolas, Bogotá, 25: In my case we would all gather in the house of a family member and drink vine and eat turkey. Also, we would adorn a Christmas tree and also rebuild the nativity scene. At midnight we give hugs to each other and everybody would get some presents. Afterwards we follow a special tradition of our family which is to play secret santa. Then we drink and dance until 4am.
Deisy, Medellín, 22: Christmas in Medellin is very different from the rest of the world, since Colombian traditions are well-preserved. One will notice December immediately from its first day. On the first at midnight the entire city would do fireworks and crackers that can be heard and seen from all the various districts. Even if the use of firecrackers is prohibited, people would start collecting money to buy them and stuff them into a puppet which they call “the old year”. The main fireworks though can be seen just before midnight of 31st December.
We decorate entire shops, or even blocks in December, too.
Christmas Eve is generally spent with the family. Traditionally, many people, including the poorer would get rid of their old clothes. This shall demonstrate that they kept their savings for new clothes in the New Year. I think that they do this because many get a bonus at the end of the year and they would wait for it. Then, they could effort things they normally could not with the basic salary during the year.
Music and food has a very strong value in Christmas time. Many radio stations would play typical music for that specific time of the year. Often, these can be parodies of famous pop songs which are very funny.
Medellin is internationally recognized for its lightings that encompass figures in many different parts of the city, foremost in the “pueblito Paisa, la avenida la playa y el paseo del río”. That is a must-see for tourists who can also enjoy the various street foods, lightings and colorful buses.
Houses are decorated very colorful, too and they decorate a Christmas tree as well.
THANKS TO ALL OF YOU AND MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!