November 26, 2014

Christmas in Colombia by Carolina of A Girl That Likes Books

Thank you so much Becca, for inviting me to this post! Let me introduce myself once again: My name is Carolina and I blog about books mostly at A Girl That Likes Books. While I am originally from Colombia, I moved to Canada a bit more than 5 years ago. There have been a lot of cultural adjustments, both from my side and my fiancé's but it has been good. One of the thing that I don't want to lose though, are my holiday traditions, which happen to be a bit different from here. So let me talk to you about them.

Colombia has very strong Catholic influences, and as such a lot of our traditions are derived from Catholicism. While I am agnostic a lot of these traditions have a big place in my heart and don't feel necessarily religious to me. The first of this is probably the Nativity set. That was one of the first things my family send to me after I had settled down.

1. My little Nativity Set :)

As you can see in this picture you have Mary and Joseph with baby Jesus, along with the donkey and the ox. That is another thing that is different: for me is Baby Jesus who brings the gifts, not Santa Claus. Now, associated to the Nativity set we have the "novena". Starting on December 16, which means 9 days before Christmas, we will get together every night and read about the journey of Maria and Joseph to Bethlehem. This is accompanied by some songs and a couple of prayers, but is mostly about being together, getting ready for Christmas. My grandma cooks this delicious Buñuelos, which are fried dough balls and they are wonderful! We also have Natilla, a dessert with a milk base.
We have a big dinner on the 24th, not the 25th. We read the last part of the story, we eat to our heart's contempt and we dance until midnight, when baby Jesus is supposed to be born. That's when we are allowed to open presents, only the ones from the family! We end up going home around 3 am or so, and kids will go to bed immediately, because if they are awake, baby Jesus won't bring them any more presents ;).

2.The Tree we had last time I spend Christmas in Colombia

We also have the Christmas tree, and that's where all the gifts will be on the 24th. There are a lot of fireworks all over the city during these days, and everyone is very cheerful and happy.
Before Christmas, on the 7th of December we celebrate “La noche de las Velitas” or Candle Night. It is pretty much what the name says, a night where we light some candles. The idea behind it is that on that night, the Virgin Mary walks the Earth and will bless every house that has a light on. Off course in olden times, leaving a candle out all night was a much bigger sacrifice for everyone, but we still do it because of what it symbolizes. For sure, every 7th of December here I have tried to leave a candle all night, but since it gets so cold here, I can’t leave it out and leaving it on inside is dangerous. But the thought is there! In Colombia we also used to have paper lanterns in this day and sparkles for the kids, but this is not possible here in Canada either.

I am very lucky that my fiancé has embraced all of my different traditions, not only the ones for the Holidays, but a bunch of other stuff, because this reminds me a lot of my family; my family and the food, that’s what I miss the most during the Holidays. What about you? What are your special Holiday traditions?

Today's guest post is by the sweet Carolina of A Girl That Likes Books! Leave a comment for her below!

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