Colombians are used to celebrate big, no matter the occasion, motive, or time; we always have in our blood that flavor that is characteristic and recognized around the world. Precisely, Christmas parties could not miss in Colombian celebrations and, as we say, “Con todos los juguetes” that means with all the toys.
In this new Blog, we tell you the 10 things that Colombians do in December and New Year’s Eve concluding a successful year and leaving behind the bad vibes looking forward for the good one, that’s why our culture is into.
1. Christmas Bonus Game (Aguinaldos)
Many people have the habit of making small games during the holidays, one of them is called “Mis Aguinaldos” and exist different modalities, but I normally play the game is “Straw in Mouth” (Pajita en Boca) . How do you play it? You need first a partner who you are betting with. Next, at any time of the day, regardless of the type of conversation or place you are, once you say “Pajita en Boca” your partner needs to put an object inside his/her mouth; if he/she does not do it he/she must pay an economic penance (the one you have established before starting the game). Same happens with other games as “three feet” (Tres Pies). If you put your foot in the middle of your partner’s feet you must say “three feet”. Wins the person who has fewer points during the day.
2. General Clean Up
This is a tradition that Colombian families do at New Year’s Eve without missing. The activity is to take everything you have, clothes, toys, tools you no longer use, old books, notebooks and used sheets for recycling, inclusive, find clothing that can deliver as donation, papers can be recycled and second hand toys for other children. This tradition is based to get rid of bad energy and start with good one.
3. Little Candles Night (Día de las Velitas)
The 8th of December is a holiday celebrated in Colombia and in many Latin American countries that celebrate the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin María. The habit is to go out to the street at your neighborhood or the main park of the residential complex where families can find complete lighting candles with colored lights representing the Virgin María, a feast for the whole family.
4. Christmas Lighting Paths
It is one of the most beautiful and colorful festivals that Bogotá and many other cities have. The mayoralty performs concerts to welcome the Christmas lights where artists from across the country meet in the streets and on Christmas Night showing the beauty of the city. Local government decorates the main avenues of the city and holds events along these roads.
5.“Novena” Family reunion
The “Novena” is the strongest tradition in Colombia where 9 days before the birth of Jesus you have to read with your family the historic journey that Joseph and Maria endured the birth of his son. Culturally, being a family celebration ends doing a little celebration or organizing a little dinner to share good experiences throughout the year. We celebrate with typical Colombian Christmas Music.
6. Painted and lighted streets
A Colombian tradition are the representations of Christmas over the streets and it usually happens in little streets with no traffic and bunch of people willing show their artwork. You can find Christmas figures as snow dolls, Christmas trees or Santa Claus. Also, there is a local contest for the best lighted house where you can see beautiful facades. It is a tradition that we only see in countries like Colombia and surely if you are living outside of country will remember it fondly.
7. Typical Christmas Food
Food is a major player in the holidays of Colombia. Colombian food as suckling pig, tamales, Ajiaco (potato soup), Natilla (custard) and Buñuelos can’t miss on the table in a familiar date. Moreover, people stop doing diet or stop to going to the gym at this season to quietly enjoy Christmas. Nothing better than the Colombian food for Christmas to feel at home!
Colombians have several omens for New Year’s Eve. We practice these omens mainly to attract financial abundance, stability at home, never missing food at home, to get a new or better job, more professional development and of course get luck with love. I normally take a backpack and go around the neighborhood representing my desire to do many trips during the next year, or wear a yellow lingerie representing economical abundance, good luck and good wishes for the coming year. Colombians never lose the habit to do fun things even in Christmas. Try this panties out!
9. The lights of Medellín
Throughout years Medellin has positioned itself for being one of the most beautiful city during Christmas time. In fact, one of its principal’s routes goes by the Rio Medellín and surroundings. Government also allows national artists to do live concerts, Christmas bands and choirs carols presentations. Each year the decoration changes representing Christmas fairy tales or stories to remember the magic of Christmas. Super recommended!
The “Alborada” lights and fireworks in Medellín has become gradually into something meaningful for the city and the country. Despite the beauty of fireworks upon the sky, it is a little bit dangerous because it last too many hours using gunpowder while kids are playing over the streets and becomes a little bit noisy. Although, it is a must see in Medellín when you visit it during Christmas. It takes place on December 1 of each year to give official aperture to Christmas!
December is the month when Colombians share the most, have more fun, joy, delicious food and a great family time. Have you been surprised by any Colombian celebration so far?
Felipe “El negro” Orbegozo.