Christmas in Colombia: Light a candle

December every year shows its best colours to give a massive welcome to the new year. It doesn’t matter if you are from one region or another, from a huge country or a small one. Christmas is Christmas, and it has to be celebrated.

Colombia is not different. Traditions of all kinds and ages come out in those days. Children, young and older people get involved in the festivity that may last the whole of December. 

The Colombian Christmas spirit begins when grandmas join the kitchen to prepare delicious traditional foods for the holiday season. In big families, the feast may become a big culinary show. 

One of the most popular dishes is “lechona,” humongous roast pork stuffed with vegetables and rice, that is slow-cooked for hours and hours beforehand – taking pride of place at the table.

But the first day of December marks Christmas in South America, thanks to Colombia. Nights become days due to the “alumbrado,” which literally means “lit up” when translated. There won’t be any place without light, including shopping malls, apartment buildings, storefronts, and parks. 

Lights are still the protagonists of these celebrations. The Day of the Candles “Dia de las Velitas” is another of those traditions that Colombians do every end of the year. On December 7, almost everyone lights hundreds of little candles. These are meant to light the way of the Virgin Mary as she comes to bless their home. 

Colombians come together to light candles of all shapes and sizes and place them on their balconies, windows or outside their places. The streets come alive with flickering flames. Some regions may also close several streets so their citizens can admire the Christmas lights and undertake family activities throughout the evening.

Christmas in Colombia has evolved into an excellent excuse to get together for nine straight nights to eat, drink and generally be merry. All this because of the “Novenas,” which begin on December 16 and run up until the 24th. During those nights, families gather in each other’s homes to set a series of nightly parties, with no breaks.

But the fun doesn’t end on the 25th. On December 28, the entire country celebrates the Day of the Innocents: people pull pranks and generally try to amuse each other. After the fire of Christmas has faded, it’s a great way to get your spirits back up in preparation for the New Year.


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