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How Colombian Women Celebrate Christmas

crowd walking under tree decorated with lights
Medellin is famous for its outdoor light displays during the Christmas season.

Have you ever wondered how Colombian women celebrate Christmas?

Since its main religion is Christianity, most of its traditional festivals are centered around Christian values and core beliefs. You’ll find them mostly visiting churches to pray during the holidays, lighting candles to honor the Virgin Mary, gathering around one roof and singing some Christmas songs.

But one thing about Colombian Christmas you need to know is their excitement to celebrate the merry holidays.

Most of us can’t wait for the holidays to arrive, and for Colombians, it’s something they look forward to every year. During late October, some of them are already getting ready to put up Christmas lights and decorations. Some stores might start selling candles and lanterns. There might even be a dozen abuelitas going around the market negotiating with food vendors to have ingredients ready and delivered to their houses for the Christmas Eve dinner.

To learn more, check out some of the celebrated Christmas traditions within Colombian culture below:

Día de las Velitas (Little Candles Day)

Every December 7th, locals get ready for the traditional Día de las Velitas, which translates to Little Candles Day. It’s common to see vendors selling small and big candles and lanterns during this time.

Colombians do this to honor the Virgin Mary. They believe that by lighting a candle during Día de las Velitas, the light of the candle allows the Virgin Mary to see them and bless them with good health for the New Year.

There are several ways to honor the tradition. Most locals would put candles on their windowsill or in their houses and light them during the night.

Alumbrados Navideños (Christmas Lights)

What is Christmas without Christmas lights? In Medellin, Alumbrados Navideños is one of the city’s major tourist attractions. Different locations around Medellin are decorated with Christmas lights, transforming the city alive at night.

With so many different Christmas light decorations and colorful light displays, it’s not surprising for Medellin to receive at least a million visitors each year. You’ll find these displays around 100 different city parks and popular streets.

The lights are usually on display from late November or early December until the beginning of January.

Las Novenas

Because the local majority in Medellin practices Christianity, one of their Christmas traditions is to celebrate Novenas. For 9 days before Christmas, families gather together in their homes, offices, and parks to sing Christmas carols, pray, and eat Christmas desserts, such as buñuelos and natilla.

It’s a religious festival that seems more like a family gathering rather than a somber, monotonous celebration. Las Novenas is a time for families to feel the warmth of the Colombian festive season.

Celebrating Christmas and Eating Christmas Food

On Christmas Eve, families typically gather under one roof to celebrate Cena de Navidad. On the table, various dishes are all lined up like a buffet meal. There’s roasted meat, side dishes, dessert, salads, fritters, and drinks.

With that many dishes on the table, no one in the family is sure to go hungry during Christmas.

After eating the Christmas meal, some people attend the midnight mass near their churches to say a prayer of thanks, while others stay up all night to dance and relax with family and friends.

Día de los Inocentes

On December 28th, some people celebrate Día de los Inocentes, which is similar to April Fool’s Day. Some people prank each other and joke around to incite laughter and goodwill. At the end of their pranks, people say Feliz Día de los Inocentes.

TV channels may also feature bloopers or hilarious pranks taken during the year. Or if people don’t want to do pranks, they go out with friends to a party. It’s common to see open bars and clubs celebrating Día de los Inocentes by dancing and playing different types of music.

New Year’s

After the Christmas celebrations are over, there’s still the New Year to look forward to. Traditionally, the majority of Colombian women celebrate their New Year with family. Families gather together for the New Year and continue with the merriment by eating, drinking, and singing songs.

They also partake in traditional New Year’s activities that usher in good luck for the upcoming year.

Here are some of them:

  1. Eating 12 grapes at midnight

You might scratch your head at the idea of eating 12 grapes at midnight. But the majority of Colombians believe it brings them good luck. At the stroke of midnight, a grape must be eaten for each chime. So eating 12 grapes in 12 seconds can be challenging.

If you decide to try this, we suggest picking seedless grapes and chewing them properly.

  1. Wearing yellow underwear

Many locals believe wearing a brand new pair of yellow underwear brings a year full of love and happiness. It has to be new or else the wish won’t work.

  1. Bringing your suitcase around the block

For those who love to travel and wish their year to be full of travel adventures, they take their suitcase - full or empty - and take a stroll around the block. By doing this, they believe their travel wishes will come true.

  1. Holding money during New Year’s

For those who wish to have better financial security and more money opportunities, they make sure they’re holding money in their hands or in their pockets when the clock strikes twelve.

Essentially, the idea is to be surrounded by things you want to have during the rest of the year.

  1. Decluttering your home on December 31st

The majority of Colombians traditionally clean their house at the end of the year. They practice this to leave behind negative energy and bad memories.

By doing this, it ensures they will have plenty of space to welcome love and positive energy into their homes.

  1. Burning the ‘old year’ doll

The ‘old year’ doll is a life-size doll stuffed with fireworks. At midnight, people gather to set the doll on fire and watch the fireworks. By burning the doll, it represents leaving behind the old year and welcoming a new one.

If you ever decide to visit Colombia during the festive season, then we hope this article gives you an idea of how some Colombian women practice several ways to celebrate Christmas.

Hopefully, with travel restrictions easing up as the pandemic stabilizes, you might have the opportunity to travel to Medellin in the future and experience for yourself their warm hospitality, cheerful Christmas traditions, and delicious Christmas food.

But in the meantime, why not consider chatting with Colombian women online? Some of them might enjoy the opportunity to talk to you and learn about your own culture from across the globe.

Newest, beautiful, single women now added for week of Wednesday, 12 June, 2024 - Tuesday, 18 June, 2024
Your opportunities here are truly worldwide. Explore our site deeply to see how you can realize that!