Uncovering Colombia's Unique Holiday Traditions
Colombia is known for its diverse culture and vibrant traditions. The holidays in Colombia are always full of excitement, joy, and celebration. From Christmas to New Year’s Day, Colombians know how to celebrate with style! Read on to learn more about five of Colombia’s most beloved holiday customs.
1. Dia de Las Velitas
Dia de las Velitas (the Day of Little Candles) is the official start to Colombia's Christmas Season. This tradition takes place on December 7th each year. This beautiful custom dates back hundreds of years and is celebrated by both religious and non-religious Colombians alike. On this day, people gather together at nightfall to light candles and paper lanterns in honor of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception and celebrate Her and baby Jesus. The streets become alive with lights as people fill them with lanterns and candles in every color imaginable.
The Novena &
2. The Nativity Scene
Perhaps one of the most beloved Colombian holiday traditions is the nativity scene or “pesebre.” Colombians celebrate this tradition by gathering around the nativity scene on Christmas Eve with family and friends to sing traditional carols and share stories about Jesus’ birth. These elaborate scenes include figures of Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, shepherds, and other characters from the Bible. These creative scenes typically tell the story of Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem but incorporate unique Colombian elements, such as tropical plants and animals native to the region.
The Novena in Colombia is an essential part of the Christmas season. It involves nine days of prayer leading up to Christmas Day. It is usually accompanied by singing traditional carols or reciting poems together as a family or community. It’s a beautiful way for families to come together during the holidays while showing their faith in Jesus Christ through prayer and meditation!
3. Natilla & Buñuelos
Natilla - This sweet custard dish made with cornstarch, sugar, eggs, and cinnamon is one of Colombia's most popular desserts served during Christmas time. Natilla will definitely be a hit among family members!
Buñuelos - These fried balls made from corn flour are another classic Colombian holiday dessert that will please everyone's sweet tooth. Buñuelos are usually enjoyed with hot chocolate or natilla. They can also be eaten on their own - add some sugar on top for an extra tasty treat!
Officially Start The Season
Colombians know how to get into the holiday spirit! As soon as December starts, streets come alive with luminous hues and dazzling displays. From cheering lights in Medellín Villa de Leyva to the festive energy of Bogota - it's a sight you don't want to miss! But that's not all; sharing these gorgeous spectacles with family and friends makes this experience truly magical.
New Years Eve
El Año Viejo
Get ready for a celebration like no other! New Year's Eve is an extra special event in Colombia, and it's celebrated with all sorts of rituals. Like the Año Viejo tradition - where townsfolk dress up old puppets in used clothing.
The dolls are lit up at midnight to say goodbye to their troubles from the year that just passed and wish for better luck in the New Year. It may have been around for decades, but this unique custom still brings warmth, joy, and optimism into Colombian homes.
Colombian holidays offer many unique traditions that add color and flavor to the festivities!
From nativities displayed throughout cities and towns to Natilla enjoyed during late-night celebrations on Christmas Eve – there's something here for everyone!
Whether you're planning a visit or looking for ways to incorporate these customs into your family tradition – there's no shortage of ways to experience Colombian holiday cheer! Happy Holidays!