Christmas is here & is it just me or has 2017 been a rat race? I can't believe we are so close to the finish line! This year has been 100% work & a little living in between. To get me into the Christmas spirit, I wanted to share some of my most special Christmas traditions with you.
I was raised in a home with Latin American & Spanish traditions, making Christmas a very significant time of the year!
I remember living in Colombia as a little girl & getting so excited about building the Pesebre (Nativity Scene) with my grandmother & cousins. Reading the Novena de Navidad (Christmas Prayers) over the 9 days before Christmas & singing Villancicos (Chirstmas carols) every night leading up to Christmas Eve. In my Latin American culture, el Niño Dios (Baby Jesus) brings the gifts on 24 December & we celebrate his birth, opening gifts at midnight.
In Spain it's tradition to go to La Misa del Gallo (Mass of the Rooster) on Noche Buena (Christmas Eve). I remember it being a very festive service, singing Villancicos & celebrating Jesus birth. After the service, we walked around the streets enjoying all the Christmas lights & decorations.
On Christmas day, some gifts are shared but Los Reyes Magos (the 3 Kings) bring the gifts at Epiphany on 6 January. If you were a naughty kid you were told that the kings will bring you coal. I remember being told a few times i was getting coal for Christmas! As part of the celebrations, everyone eats Róscon de Reyes (King's Ring Cake) filled with charms, either at home with family or at any coffee shop. I was unlucky to never get a good charm with my Roscón piece! The Christmas celebrations come to an end with a beautiful Epiphany Parade in the streets of most big cities.
A very big event in Spain during the festive season is La Loteria de Navidad (Christmas Lottery), which is the biggest lottery in the world! Held on 22 December at The Teatro Real (Royal Theater) in Madrid. Everyone is glued to the national TV to see the draw.
Noche Vieja (New Years Eve) is celebrated with a special tradition, which is having 12 grapes for the countdown of the clock, to bring good wishes for the new year. I'm happy I've never missed this tradition while living abroad. In Spain, all the big squares are filled with thousands of people ready with their grapes to watch the clock hit 12am!
I miss the Christmas traditions that I experienced as a little girl, but in the spirit of Christmas I hope to keep the traditions alive & to share more memories with my loved ones. As the saying goes, it's the most wonderful time of the year!
I never really listened to English Christmas Carols but here is a list of both, my favorite Villancicos since I was a little girl & my current favorite holiday music:
Mi Burrito Sabanero
Los Peces en el Rio
Ande, ande, ande la Marimorena
Santa Claus is Coming to Town
All I want for Christmas is You
Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas
I'm spending Christmas with my hubby at Bakubung Lodge in the Pilanesburg, experiencing all the South African festivities. Where are you spending the holidays?
I'm so happy I got to slow down & share my Christmas traditions with you! I hope you enjoyed reading about them & that it inspired you to keep Christmas traditions alive.