December is a busy month in Colombia. Many schools close early in the month, and everyone gets ready to celebrate "la Navidad" with friends and family. Everything starts on December 7th with "La Noche de la Velitas," a night for everyone to celebrate la Inmaculada Concepcion. You will find candles in many houses, and they will stay lit all, night and the celebration continues until December 8th.
From December 16 to the 24th, many families gather to recite prayers and sing Christmas songs next to the Nativity scence. This is called "Las Novenas" because it lasts nine days.
December 24th is a family night, when everyone awaits with joy the rebirth of "El Niño Jesús." People share Colombian treats such as natilla, brevas, and manjar blanco to celebrate. The children that attended all the novenas without missing a might will get presents from the family hosting the celebration. This is the most important night when people stay up waiting for Niños Dios to arrive. Children have to go to bed before midnight to be able to receive their presents.
December 25th is the day when the children celebrate opening the presents "El Niño Jesús" left next to the Nativity scene, the Christmas tree, or under the bed.
All these celebrations lead to December 28th, "El Día de los Inocentes," a day that is similar to April Fools in the United States. It is a day filled with jokes and fun.
And on December 31st everyone gets excited about the New Year and the resolutions it brings. Año Viejos are built in many places to leave the bad things from the previous year behind and make a new start. They are be burned at 12:00am. The five minutes before the year ends are crucial and frantic, with yellow underwear for good luck, suitcases filled to go around the block (to ensure you travel much), a dollar bill in your pocket (you probably get the reason for this one), 12 grapes with 12 wishes or resolutions, and many other exciting and fun thing for a new start to a new year.
January 6th is usually not a big day in Colombia, but it is in other countries like Spain. In Colombia, it's the date that marks the end of the Christmas season which means it's time to put away the pesebre for next year!
Labels: Colombia, end of the year tradition, Navidad