While Christmas cards, movies, and TV show the traditional Christmas of Canada and the United States, traditions throughout Latin America and the Caribbean are very different! Some of our celebrations have similarities to Canadian ones and even within Spanish-speaking countries, but each has its own twist.
Below we put together a list of Christmas traditions that are full of latinx energy and incredibly meaningful to those who celebrate them.
Novena de Aguinaldos
In Colombia and parts of Venezuela and Ecuador, one of the Christmas traditions celebrated is the novena de aguinaldos or the novena to baby Jesus. During this novena, people sing different Christmas carols to the sounds of maracas and tambourines. There is a daily prayer said from 16 December to 24 December. These prayers are to honour the Virgin Mary, St. Joseph, the Wise Men, and in preparation for the birth of baby Jesus.
Throughout Mexico and Guatemala, you will find people participating in posadas. Posadas begin on the 16th of December through the 24th and replicate Joseph and Mary looking for an inn on the way to Bethlehem. People walk in procession singing songs asking for lodging, and the houses that represent the inns respond stating they have no way of accommodating them. People carry candles with them until they reach the posada itself, typically a party with food and drinks.
When it’s time to feast on Christmas Eve, in the Dominican Republic, you can expect to have lechón asado, which is roasted pork cooked with olives, capers, and cubanelle peppers. For a great recipe, head over to Cocina Dominicana, the recipe is in Spanish, a perfect opportunity to practice the language and eat amazing holiday food. Lechón asado is served with Russian salad and rice with pigeon peas.
During Dominican Christmas festivities you will also have the opportunity to eat delicious appetizers. They consist of ripe plantain casserole, Dominican quipes or bulgur rolls, and Dominican empanadas. It is a feast that will not disappoint.
Like in Canada, Spanish-speaking countries have an eggnog drink or cocktail they enjoy during the holidays. In Cuba, you will drink Crema de Vie, Puerto Rico has its famous Coquito, while in Mexico you will find Rompope, and in Chile, you can enjoy Cola de Mono.
They all vary ever so slightly in ingredients or in the process of making each holiday drink. Some include alcohol turning them into tasty cocktails, while others are alcohol-free and enjoyed by family members of all ages. Regardless of which one you try, we promise you that you won’t be disappointed and will want to have any and every version of it during the holidays.
Lively Latinx Celebrations
These are just some of the traditions you will find throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. They bring an electric joy to the towns and cities of our beloved countries and are a wonderful time to visit when you’re looking to get away for the holidays. Share your traditions with us in the comments, and have a very Merry Christmas! Feliz Navidad!!!