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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.