Author: Sarita Escobar Velez
CHRISTMAS in Colombia is celebrated throughout the entire month of december, which is why it is one of the best times to visit, especially if you have family or friends. On this occasion we will tell you how this season is celebrated in Colombia and in Medellín:
DECEMBER FIRST AND DECORATION:
In Medellín, the night of November 30 and the early morning of December 1, in some neighborhoods it is celebrated that the month begins with the “fiesta de la alborada”.
This day is perfect for putting together Christmas with the family. All homes are decorated with; the PESEBRE (which is a representation of the nativity scene portal), the Christmas tree, lights and other decorations.
At this time even the music changes completely, everywhere you will begin to hear December music, Christmas carols, porros and cumbias. Music that is only heard in this season.
DAY OF THE CANDLES:
On the night of December 7 to 8 we light candles, lanterns and lights to celebrate with our loved ones the beginning of the Christmas holidays. The origin of this tradition is to honor the illumination of the Immaculate Conception, however, over the years, it has become a party to be thankful, celebrate with family and give good wishes for Christmas.
We celebrate this day with family and friends, we enjoy delicious christmas treats as Buñuelos, Natilla, Hojuelas, a Special Dinner or Traditional Dish, in an ambience with popular music and Christmas carols, and of course, many lit candles!
It is common to see children and adults make wax balls with the paraffin from melted candles.
The Medellín mayor’s office celebrates the traditional Myths and Legends Parade on December 8 to revive mythical characters rooted in oral tradition such as “La Madremonte”, “La Llorona”, “El Sombrerón” among others.
BUÑUELO AND NATILLA:
December is a flavorful month with several dishes and snacks, but without a doubt this combination cannot be missing and although it can be prepared all year round, it is characteristic of Christmas and it is a flavor that always reminds all Colombians of this very special time.
The Buñuelos are fried balls of flour dough, cassava flour and costeño cheese. Crispy and salty, perfect to combine with Natilla.
Natilla is a dessert originating in Spain, similar to custard, it is based on milk, egg and sugar. This dessert arrived in colonial times and was very well received in Antioquia and the Coffee zone, over the years it has spread throughout the country and has become a symbol of Christmas dessert. The Colombian Natilla has a different flavor and texture from its origins, the recipe contains Maicena (corn starch or starch) and is prepared without eggs. The recipe, color and texture in each home may vary, because it will depend on the ingredients used to sweeten it (such as arequipe, condensed milk, sugar, panela, coconut, cinnamon, etc.) and depending on its preparation, traditionally in a wood stove , which gives it a unique flavor and smell.
From December 16 to 24, La Novena de Aguinaldos is celebrated. A Catholic custom that little by little has become a social tradition, its name comes from the nine days that this celebration takes place in preparation for the birth of Jesus.
The novena is normally celebrated as a family, with children and adults, and it is a perfect opportunity to share with loved ones. Ideally, it is held every day in a different home, churches, companies, and shopping centers also hold them. It begins with all the attendees gathered around the “Pesebre” and begins with the prayer for every day, then the considerations of the day (it varies according to the day), followed by the prayer to the Blessed Virgin, the Prayer to Saint Joseph, the Joys and Prayer to baby Jesus. It is customary for various people and children to read parts of the novena and on some occasions the prayers are accompanied by maracas, drums and other musical instruments.
This celebration has Christmas carols and delicious Christmas foods such as “Buñuelo” and “Natilla” and fritters
On Christmas Eve, December 24, we celebrate with a family dinner. The birth of the baby Jesus brings the gifts that are under the Christmas tree to be enjoyed on the next day.
LOS ALUMBRADOS Y FIESTAS EN LA CIUDAD
Los Alumbrados y la Decoración Navideña son un gran atractivo turístico en la ciudad. La alcaldía realiza espectaculares recorridos de alumbrados por el río y en otras zonas con un tema central que varía cada año. Este espectáculo normalmente está disponible todo el mes y hasta mediados de enero.
Se ofrecen conciertos especiales, fiestas de celebración y eventos en toda la ciudad para que puedas celebrar.
En los pueblos más tradicionales se realizan procesiones en honor a la Inmaculada Concepción. En algunos de ellos también se celebran fiestas y festivales.
THE LIGHTING AND FESTIVALS IN THE CITY
The Lighting and Christmas Decorations are a great tourist attraction in Medellin. The mayor carries out spectacular lighting tours along the river and in other areas with a central theme that varies each year. This show is normally available all month and until mid-January.
Special concerts, celebration parties and events are offered throughout the city so you can celebrate.
In the most traditional towns, processions are held in honor of the Immaculate Conception. In some of them parties and festivals are also celebrated.
NEW YEARS EVE
The end of the year parties are full of traditions, these are the most curious and popular:
- Eating 12 grapes before midnight: As good luck for each month of the coming year.
- Yellow underwear: It is believed to bring abundance and good luck, especially if it is worn inside out.
- Lentils in the Pockets: To have abundance in the new year
- Take a walk around the house with suitcases: It is believed that going for a walk with the family and with several suitcases will bring you a variety of trips during the new year.
- Burn old year doll: A doll is assembled with old clothes and newspaper (in some parts they use gunpowder) that represents all the bad things about the ending year. The idea is to set it on fire to forget problems and start over with the new year.
December in Colombia is a month full of joy, to share and celebrate. You can see the changes in the street, the attitude of the people, the food and even in the music. Our tropical climate and all these celebrations make it a perfect place and season to spend Christmas with Family or Friends