A mix of a religious event and party.
Christmas in Colombia is celebrated on the 24th of December, but it actually starts on December the 8th with the ‘el día de las velitas’ (Day of the Candles). During this night, people gather with their neighbours, family and friends to light candles around their houses and the streets. Each candle represents one wish. After lighting the candles, we have a party that includes dancing and food.
Day of the Candles at the city centre of Bogotá, Colombia
From the beginning of December, we eat ‘buñuelos’ (fried dough balls), ‘empanadas’ (stuffed fried bread), ‘natilla’ (custard-like dessert) and we drink rum and our famously strong alcohol drink called Aguardiente (60% alcohol).
Colombians go crazy for Christmas lights and go to extremes with their decorations. It is essential to have them in each house and neighbourhood:
- ‘Pesebre’, which is the nativity scene represented by figures
- ‘Árbol de navidad’ (Christmas tree): the more decorations, the better!
- ‘Luces de navidad’ (Christmas lights) everywhere!
We also have the ‘Novena’, which is a prayer that starts on the 16th of December and it finishes on the 24th. It has to be recited every night. After praying, the party can start once again with dancing and food. People tend to do the ‘Novena’ in different houses for each night; it is common to pray with your family, neighbours and friends.
In a nutshell, Christmas is the time of the year when people forget about all the problems, and they reunite with all their loved ones.