Culture

Latinos Are Some Of The Most Festive People And These Traditions Prove It

We all experienced that moment when you realized you celebrated holidays a little different in your Latino household. Maybe it was when you realized that they didn’t celebrate Three Kings Day with shoes and boxes filled with hay. Or maybe your realization came when your friends and their families didn’t eat grapes for good luck at their New Years Ever party.

Seeing all of the traditions written down just makes them all the more heartwarming. Read on if you’re already getting warm, fuzzy feelings.

Día de las Velitas honors the beginning of the holiday season.

CREDIT: Untitled. Digital Image. Huffington Post. 25 September 2018.

In Colombia, the day is celebrated on December 7, but as we already know, Costco begins celebrating on August 20th. You can buy your Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas decorations all at the same time there.

We literally only cook out of toddler size pots during the holidays.

CREDIT: @AnahyCiriza / Twitter

If your tía can’t post a joke picture of one of your primitos in the pot, then it’s not big enough. We eat a lot so there always has to be too much food.

Dancing tías flock to la tamalada at your house for three straight days.

CREDIT: @AliciaWLTX / Twitter

If you’ve never seen a group of mamis y tías making tamales for the holidays, you have not experienced efficiency. It is an assembly line process that will surprise anyone.

We can’t wait for Christmas so we celebrate Buena Noche.

CREDIT: @harmonylael / Twitter

The big family dinner is on Christmas Eve and everyone stays up late drinking coquito, eating waves of flan y natilla, and waiting for the clock to strike midnight. Then all the kids start opening their presents because it’s *technically* Christmas.

The Oaxaca Radish Festival in Mexico is incredible.

CREDIT: @CNNTravel / Twitter

Known as “Noche de Rabanos,” the main square of Oaxaca is flooded with artisan created radish carvings on December 23. They’re often molded into nativity scenes, and there’s always food and dancing.

Boricuas will parranda your casa up.

CREDIT: @CortesBob / Twitter

We thrive on barging into people’s homes and making a party. The parranda is a Puerto Rican tradition that literally entitles you to takeover your friends’ homes with live music. You’ll never know when it’s going to happen so just always be ready with food for an extra 20 Puerto Ricans and you’ll have a good time.

If you’re religious, you participate in La Novena.

CREDIT: @PromiseArizona / Twitter

Every night in the nine days before Christmas, you sing prayers around your local nativity scene. In this picture, Arizona Latinos sang their 2017 novena for the “families unjustly detained.” ✊🏽

After la novena, you might remember singing villancicos.

CREDIT: @SenoritaRacicot / Twitter

They’re basically just Spanish Christmas carols. They go back hundreds of years and are actually poems. Popular songs include “Noche de paz,” “Los peces en el río,” “Campana sobre campana” and “Mi Burrito Saberno.”

In Venezuela, they roll through patinatas.

CREDIT: @ladytrample / Twitter

In the week leading up to Christmas Eve, people will just take to closed-off roads or plazas to roller skate in what they call a “patinata.”

Of course, there are always the posadas.

CREDIT: kat_egli / Flickr

Unlike the standard family masses that include a group of kids acting out the nativity story, posadas take to different neighborhood each night. The children knock on a door and sing a song asking for space at their inn. The hosts will sing back to them and welcome them in for ponche, buñelos and tamales.

You’ll never forget the torture of La Misa del Gallo.

CREDIT: @Rafael_belgom / Twitter

Also known as “Rooster’s Mass,” because it happens at midnight on Christmas Eve. Traditionally, in Rome and Spain, Misa del Gallo is celebrated at the crack of dawn, but when it was assimilated into Mexico, rural families adjusted the tradition so they can go back to their farms and take care of the animals.

Latinos also have Día de los Reyes Magos to look forward to.

CREDIT: @slatinamerica / Twitter

If your parents were super traditional, they would only let you open one present on Buena Noche and wait until Three Kings Day for the rest.

In Puerto Rico, we put a shoebox of hay under the bed the night before Three Kings Day.

CREDIT: Untitled. Digital Image. El Boricua. 25 September 2018.

Instead of putting out cookies for Santa, we leave hay under the bed for the camels who are carrying the Three Kings to eat. The next morning, we wake up and there’s a present there instead.

Then there are the NYE traditions like Año Viejo.

CREDIT: @cristiancrespoj / Twitter

Some people ring in the new year by building a cardboard doll that represents the bad times of the last year. Then the doll is set on fire at midnight in hopes of burning away the past and bringing in a brighter new year.

Caption: “The old year of San Juan de Colón in # Tachira pays homage in its burning of this year to Neomar Lander, hero of the # Resistance of # Venezuela assassinated by the Maduro Narcotics. Like other more than 130 young people also killed in the fight for freedom! Maduro will fall !!!!”

The tastiest tradition is to eat twelve grapes after midnight.

CREDIT: @theleaguelady / Twitter

You make a wish for every month of the new year and then they all come true. The tradition originates in Spain, but has become popular all over Latin America.

Leave it to Latinos to make cleaning a ritual tradition.

CREDIT: @HomesiteServ / Twitter

We already do it every Saturday, but every New Years Eve, you spend the whole morning deep cleaning the house, because “a clean slate starts with a clean house.” Cubans will hold on to the bucket of dirty water until midnight and throw it over the balcony to cleanse bad energy from the last year.

Oh, and you have to wear yellow underwear on NYE.

CREDIT: Untitled. Digital Image. Korijock. 25 September 2018.

Some people have a tradition to change your underwear at midnight for good luck. Others swear that yellow underwear specifically will bring good luck.

Spend the last day of the year hiding money around your house.

CREDIT: “money in couch” Digital Image. Low Income Financial Help. 25 September 2018.

Ecuadorians claim this tradition which is meant to bring wealth in prosperity in the new year. I mean, it literally works because then you find all the money the next day and feel richer.

Brazilians hurry to the beach to jump over 7 waves after midnight.

CREDIT: “Jumping the waves” Digital Image. BBC. 25 September 2018.

The tradition comes from Candomblé, an African religion that was secretly practiced by the slaves from Bahia. Brazilian NYE parties also include hoards of people wearing all white, to symbolize peace and rebirth.

Dominicans pack a suitcase to their NYE parties.

CREDIT: “Image Credits: www.telegraph.co.uk “ Digital Image. Dubeat. 25 September 2018.

The tradition is to pack a suitcase and walk around the block to ensure safe travel for the following year. My family is lazy. We just take an empty suitcase and walk in circles around the house.


READ: 25 Latino Superstitions That Are Proven Fact

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Does Anybody Really Know What’s Supposed To Happen After You Get The Baby Jesus Figurine In La Rosca De Reyes?

Culture

Does Anybody Really Know What’s Supposed To Happen After You Get The Baby Jesus Figurine In La Rosca De Reyes?

alejandro.munoz.p / Instagram

Remember Día de Reyes when everyone cuts the rosca and hopes to god not to get the little niño Jesus? If you grew up Mexican, you probably know that whoever gets the baby Jesus figurine owes everyone tamales. But when is the tamal party? And most importantly—why? Keep reading to find out what El Día de la Candelaria means, what your abuelitas and tías are actually celebrating and how it originated —spoiler alert: it’s colonization.

February 2nd may be Groundhog Day in the United States, but in Mexico, and for many Latinos outside of Mexico, there is a completely different celebration on this date.

The religious holiday is known as Día de la Candelaria (or Candlemas in English). And on this day of the year, people get together with family and friends to eat tamales, as a continuation of the festivities of Three Kings’ Day on January 6. 

This is why your abuelita dresses up her niño Jesús in extravagant outfits.

For Día de la Candelaria it’s customary for celebrants to dress up figures of the Christ Child in special outfits and take them to the church to be blessed. Día de la Candelaria is traditionally a religious and family celebration, but in some places, such as Tlacotalpan, in the state of Veracruz, it is a major fiesta with fairs and parades.

February 2nd is exactly forty days after Christmas and is celebrated by the Catholic church as the Feast of the Purification of the Virgin.

Alternatively, this day also counts as the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple. The origin of this religious feast day comes from ancient Jewish tradition. According to Jewish law, a woman was considered unclean for 40 days after giving birth, and it was customary to bring a baby to the temple after that period of time had passed. So the idea is that Mary and Joseph would have taken Jesus to the temple to be blessed on February second, forty days after his birth on December 25.

The tradition goes back to around the 11th Century in Europe.

People typically took candles to the church to be blessed as part of the celebration. This tradition was based on the biblical passage of Luke 2:22-39 which recounts how when Mary and Joseph took Jesus to the temple, a particularly devout man named Simeon embraced the child and prayed the Canticle of Simeon: “Now thou dost dismiss thy servant, O Lord, according to thy word in peace; Because my eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all peoples: A light to the revelation of the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.” The reference to the light inspired the celebration of the blessing of the candles.

In Mexico Día de la Candelaria is a follow-up to the festivities of Three Kings Day on January 6th.

On Día De Reyes, when children receive gifts, families and friends gather together to eat Rosca de Reyes, a special sweet bread with figurines of a baby (representing the Child Jesus) hidden inside. The person (or people) who received the figurines on Three Kings Day are supposed to host the party on Candlemas Day. Tamales are the food of choice.

This tradition also carries Pre-Hispanic roots.

After the Spanish conquistadors introduced the Catholic religion and masked indigenous traditions with their own, to help spread evangelization, many villagers picked up the tradition of taking their corn to the church in order to get their crops blessed after planting their seeds for the new agricultural cycle that was starting. They did this on February 2, which was the eleventh day of the first month on the Aztec calendar —which coincidentally fell on the same day as the Candelaria celebration. It’s believed that this is why, to this day, the celebratory feast on February 2 is all corn-based —atole and tamales.

This date is special for other reasons too… 

February 2, marks the halfway point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox, which aligns with the pagan holiday of Imbolc. Since ancient times, this date was thought to be a marker or predictor of the weather to come, which is why it is also celebrated as Groundhog Day in the United States. There was an old English saying that went “if Candlemas be fair and bright, Winter has another flight. If Candlemas brings clouds and rain, Winter will not come again.” In many places, this is traditionally seen as the best time to prepare the earth for spring planting.

In Perú the Fiesta de la Candelaria is a festival in honor of the Virgin of Candelaria, patron saint of the city of Puno and it is one of the biggest festivals of culture, music, and dancing in the country.

The huge festival brings together the Catholic faith and Andean religion in homage to the Virgin of Candelaria. The Virgin represents fertility and purity. She is the patron saint of the city and is strongly associated with the Andean deity of ‘Pachamama’ (‘mother earth’). It is this common factor of both religions that brings them together for the festival. In 2014, UNESCO declared the festival an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The main dates of ‘Fiesta de la Candelaria’ are February 2nd – 12th.

This 8-Year-Old Ran Away From Home When His Mom Told Him The Three Kings Forgot Him But His Story Has A Happy Ending

Culture

This 8-Year-Old Ran Away From Home When His Mom Told Him The Three Kings Forgot Him But His Story Has A Happy Ending

@NewColumbiaHts / Instagram

From a young age we’ve been told, “It’s the thought that counts,” and to accept any gift with a smile. But this little boy was not about to take the disrespect. An eight-year-old boy from Guanajuato woke up on January 7 to find that his letter to the three kings was left unanswered—so naturally, he ran away from home.

Juan Daniel was found wandering the streets by police in Santa Teresa, Guanajuato. 

Police said the boy told them that he had found his unanswered letter to the three kings inside his shoes where he had left it the night before.

His mom told him los Reyes forgot about him.

When he asked his mother why the three kings hadn’t brought him the talking robot he had asked for, she told him that they had forgotten about him. Upset at the oversight, Juan Daniel ran away.

Juan Daniel was found holding the letter he wrote to los Reyes Magos

The 8-year-old had asked for a robot that says the words “Love me, hug me.”

The police picked him up and called his family

The minor was taken to Social Services where his uncles came to the rescue —his mom arrived moments later, she had reported her son missing just a few hours prior. 

The officers were touched by the boy’s disappointment

Moved by the story, officers and administrative staff at the police station raised money to buy him the gifts that had not appeared.

An officer even played the role of the Kings’ emissary

Soon after, a police officer carrying a bag of toys came to the station pretending to be an emissary of the three kings. He told Juan Daniel the kings had been busy so they had asked him to help pass out toys to children.

Juan Daniel got his presents in the end.

The boy opened the bag to find the robot he had asked for, as well as a train, a ball, notebooks and a box of crayons. Meanwhile, social workers provided support to the boy’s mother for problems with addiction.