Culture

Here’s Why Everyone Should Celebrate Nochebuena At Least Once With Their Latino Friends

While many families around the world will be setting out cookies and milk for Santa and promptly sending the kids off to bed to wait until Christmas morning to open their presents, Latino families will be gathering with their tíos, tías, abuelos, and primos for one of the biggest parties of the year; Nochebuena —and it definitely outshines Thanksgiving, New Years, and Christmas Day, combined. 

For Latinos, Christmas Eve is even better than the actual day. 

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Nochebuena literally means ‘good night’ or ‘holy night’, and it’s a time for family, friends, food, presents and chisme, of course, We all know that there’s always chisme. 

Nochebuena parties usually happen at the reigning matriarch’s home.

Credit: @gabyromerom / Twitter

Every Christmas Eve, entire families flock from every part of the city —sometimes different countries— all the way to Grandma or Grandpa’s house, to meet the entire family. It’s the one time of year when you get to see your long lost primos or that tío you can’t stand; all to celebrate the birth of Jesus —And to open presents tbh. 

Everyone dresses up to sit in grandma’s house and eat up a feast. 

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Nochebuena is a time to serve up a fashion clinic for everyone present. Tías turn up looking extra af, los tíos are sometimes forced to wear ties, and all the primos and primas are selfie-ready as soon as the clock hits midnight. 

Depending on your family’s nationality or background, your Nochebuena experience might vary. 

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From the menu to the ancient traditions to the religious aspects, everything may be different depending on your family’s nationality. For example, if you attend a Cuban or Puerto Rican Nochebuena, you’ll find yourself face to face with a lechón, which is a deliciously large roast pig with face, feet, and everything else intact. Traditionally, the lechón is prepared inside something called a caja China and some times buried underground. 

If you’re attending Nochebuena in a Mexican household, you might find yourself enjoying homemade tamales and pozole.

Credit: horntortillas / Instagram

The menu might also include flan or buñelos for dessert, and maybe even a little tequila. Colombian Nochebuena dinners might include ajiaco Bogotano, a type of potato soup, and natillaa dessert made from cornstarch and milk that’s way more delicious than it sounds; while Venezuelans enjoy pernil (pork leg) and panettone (a sweet bread loaf) as their traditional Nochebuena treats.

Get ready for ‘el intercambio.’

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Just as the clock strikes midnight, everyone gets ready to eat their traditional dishes. Once the food gets eaten and the cafecito has been drunk, it’s time to gather around the Christmas tree and Nativity scene to hand out regalos. The ‘intercambio’ which literally translates to “exchange” is a Secret Santa of sorts, but it involves your whole family. Everyone gets a present and some families use the occasion to pick at each other by gifting ‘prank’ presents as well as real, meaningful ones. 

Nochebuena is even celebrated in the Philipines.

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The Phillipines was also a colony of Spain. The Spanish influence on Filipino culture is still pretty much present, and so Nochebuena is still celebrated on the islands. Over there folks indulge in everything from hamonado, a pineapple juice-infused chicken or pork, to sotanghon soupa type of hot noodle soup, and tsokolate (hot chocolate) to end the meal.

If the family celebrating Nochebuena is Catholic, there will be more events lined up on the night before Christmas.

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For many Catholics of various nationalities, dinner is often either preceded by or followed by a trip to church for la Misa de Gallo, or the midnight mass. In many Latin American cultures, there’s a baby Jesus tribute that takes place before exchanging presents or eating dinner. Days, and sometimes weeks, before Christmas eve, when the tree gets set up, so does the family’s nativity scene. Every piece and character gets set up as part of the Nativity scene, everything except baby Jesus. This key character joins the rest of the crew at midnight on Dec. 24, right after his birth. 

After eating, exchanging gifts, catching up on the latest family gossip —and putting baby Jesus to sleep, many families make their own traditions.

In many Latin American countries, playing dominos, lighting fireworks, and releasing paper lanterns into the sky are also fun traditions for the evening. And once the coquito, tequila, or Aguardiente gets flowing, you’ll probably end up dancing along to “Mi Burrito Sabanero” or Jose Feliciano’s “Feliz Navidad,” just some of the many songs you’re bound to hear at least once at a Noche buena party.

READ: We Are Already Craving These Delicious And Decadent Noche Buena Dishes

The ‘Sahuaraura’ Manuscript, An Ancient Peruvian Document That Was Thought Lost—Was Found Just Last Week, Over 100 Years Later

Things That Matter

The ‘Sahuaraura’ Manuscript, An Ancient Peruvian Document That Was Thought Lost—Was Found Just Last Week, Over 100 Years Later

BBC / Twitter

The Sahuaraura manuscript is considered a fundamental part of Peruvian history and culture. This piece Peruvian history, written by hand, was lost for a century and a half. Placed under the care of the then Public Library of Lima, the document disappeared in 1883 inexplicably—and now, over a hundred years later, it’s been found.

A part of the history of Peru, written by hand, was lost for a century and a half.

Peru National Library

During the Pacific War from (between 1879 and 1883), a manuscript of great value, was lost. Placed under the safekeeping of the then Public Library of Lima, the document was mysteriously lost.

“Recuerdos de la monarquía peruana, ó bosquejo de la historia de los incas”

Twitter @dossieroficial

The document titled “Recuerdos de la monarquía peruana,ó bosquejo de la historia de los incas” was a historical treaties written by hand by the priest, scholar and national hero, ‘Justo Sahuaraura Inca’, whom, it was believed, was a descendant of the sovereign, Huayna Capac, third Sapan Inka of the Inca Empire, born in Tumipampa and the second to last ruler over the Tahuantinsuyo empire.

The document disappeared for nearly 150 years.

twitter @bibliotecaperu

It wasn’t until 2015, when, by chance, the Sahuaraura manuscript was found thousands of kilometers away. The document was lost for nearly 150 years, nowhere to be found.

It was discovered in Brazil

instagram @shane.lassen.russlyonsedona

As it turned out, a family in Sao Paulo, had had it in their possession for over four decades —and hoped to sell it in the U.S. during a high profile auction by the renowned auction house, Sotheby’s.

Peruvian authorities are organizing an exhibition to show the document publicly in celebration of its return to Peru.

twitter @laurasolete123

After four years of formalities and paperwork, the Sahuaraura manuscript is finally back where it disappeared from, the now National Library of Perú. And to celebrate its return, authorities have organized an exhibition to show the document publicly for the first time. The return of the document took place just last week, and it was amongst 800 other historical and archaeological pieces including Incan ceramics, textiles and bibliographic materials that were all stolen decades ago —and that the Peruvian government finally located and retrieved from 6 different countries.

Of all the objects rescued, the manuscript holds a place of special importance for Peruvian history.

Peru National Library

The Sahuaraura text is considered a fundamental part of Peruvian historiography and the cultural value of the manuscript is ‘incalculable’. “Only this copy exists,” explained the Ministry of Peruvian Culture, Francesco Petrozzi, “and it tells us, very clearly, about a period in our history that we must all know about and study closely.”

It took, Sahuaraura, a member and descendant of the Incan noble family, years of research, consulting archives and documents —now lost— to be able to construct his primal history of Peru with data cited, very rarely, on other works about the arrival of Spanish conquistadors into this region of the continent.

The Sahuaraura manuscript includes an illustrated genealogy study.

twitter @peruturismo

The book also goes into great detail about the genealogy of the rulers of the vast pre-columbian territories that conformed the Incan empire with its capital in Cusco, which provides a huge insight into the history of the region to modern researchers.

The manuscript details Peruvian history, from the foundations of the empire, until the largest indigenous rebellion against Spanish rule in the region.

twitter @bibliotecaperu

The text starts from Manco Cápac, who was thought to be the first ruler and founder of the Incan culture, and follows history all the way up to Túpac Amaru, the indigenous leader who fronted the largest anti-colonial rebellion in Latin America in the XVIII century.

What is known of Sahuaraura, the scholar himself?

Museo Histórico Regional de Cusco

The priest and scholar is an icon of Peruvian culture and history. He was born towards the end of the XVIII century and he was the son of a leader of one of the regions of Cusco, which is why some chroniclers believe he belonged to the highest lines of Incan nobility.  He became a priest and joined the Catholic church, which named him synodal examiner of the bishopric and general liaison with six provinces of Cusco.

It is said that he received Simon Bolivar himself —a Venezuelan military and political leader who led the independence of what are currently the states of Venezuela, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Panama from the Spanish Empire —in his own house, and that the libertador gave him a medal for his services toward the freedom of Peru.

Sahuaraura also documented important literary works of the Incan empire in his works.

instagram @manu_elera

Among the many other manuscripts that the scholar worked on, and that also compile different aspects of Incan history, there is a literary anthology of the empire. This document includes the codex of Ollantay drama, considered by some, the most ancient expression of Quechua literature.

Sahuaraura himself went missing.

instagram @purochucho

Nothing is known about the death of this scholar. Sahuaraura himself went missing from Peruvian history at a time unknown. All that is known is that he retired somewhere in Cusco, and no one ever knew anything about him after. There is no information on the place or date of his death.

11 Gift Ideas To Give Your BFF This Christmas Featuring All Latino-Inspired Presents

Culture

11 Gift Ideas To Give Your BFF This Christmas Featuring All Latino-Inspired Presents

mitú

Your best friend is literally the best. Like, the greatest of all your other friends. So giving them a gift that’ll make them go ‘meh’, is completely out of the question. After all, this isn’t just any old gift, like one for your boss or a Secret Santa exchange or even a family member. This is a present for your partner in crime. Thankfully, we could think of a few Latino-inspired gifts that are perfect for your comadre or compadre.  From hats to clever mugs, accessories, candles and more, you’ll definitely find something he or she will love this holiday season! And you’ll get rep your Latinidad while you’re at it. 

‘Annoyed in Spanish’ Dad Hat

If your friend is bilingual, then you know they can get annoyed in both English and Spanish (lucky you). We feel their pain, so we made this [Annoyed In Spanish] Dad Hat to wear on the days when we simply can’t with people. Stay strong, amigos, we feel you.

‘Pa qué highlighter’ Makeup bag

This little gift set would be a lifesaver for the makeup obsessed person in your life. Remind that makeup queen that she doesn’t need any highlighter with that brown shine of hers. This vegan leather bag is perfect for holding all her day-to-day essentials. Take this with you and SHINE!

Apt. 512 keychain

Ideal for that Selena fan in your life. Or maybe send it as a hint to that special ‘chico del apartamento 512’ who has the key to your heart. 

‘Mejor Sola’ Necklace 

For that queen who maybe has just gone through a breakup, or who just doesn’t settle for anyone she’s not 100 percent sure about. Remind her that ‘mejor sola que mal acompañada’ and empower her to live her best life with this little sumthin. 

‘Y la dieta?’ hat 

For the fit friend who always keeps track of everyone else’s calorie count. Gift her this hat so she can remind everyone to keep on with la dieta without saying anything. 

‘Fierce Graduate’ pin

For that recent grad in your life. Let her know; girl, you’re someone who knows what she wants and you’ll never stop working until you reach your goals. The “Fierce Graduate” Pin will help her show the world, she’s a force to be reckoned with.

‘Qué Cozy’ candle set

Fall is here, and winter is just upon us, so why not get cozy with some candles? As you know, Latinos don’t do basic —we’re looking at you Pumpkin Spice— so this Holiday Candle Collection comes with three Latino-inspired scents including Tamales de Dulce, Arroz con Leche, and of course, Cafecito! So grab a blanket and a lighter and enjoy!

‘That’s my Prima’ pin pack

You know your prima always has your back, so why not show her how much you love and support her too, with this matching pin set! So cute. 

‘Tragos’ party game

Made with pure Latino pride, Tragos is the drinking card game that your abuela will not approve of. Perfect for the friend who loves hosting fiestas at his place. Each box holds 110 ridiculously true Latino reference cards, designed with unique game rules to get the fiesta started. 

Play with different card categories like: Vote — Tostones or maduro? Losers take 2 sips. Jinx — Pick a person in the room. On 3, both of you call out the best Latino dessert. If you have different answers, drink. Most Likely To —On 3, everyone points at the person you think watches the most telenovelas. Pick Two—Pick two types of Latino cuisine. Everyone votes on which one is better. Losing team drinks. And then ask them to invite you to the drinking party. 

‘El Jefe’ hat

Sorry, this hat is for boss Latinos only*. If you are not one, please hit the back button on your browser immediately. But if you or one of your friends is the perfect guy for this hat, go ahead and add to your cart because there’s no better gift for that carne asada king. 

‘Fierce’ sticker set

If your BFF is one of those stationery lovers, then this sticker pack is for her. Featuring our fave poderosa phrases, she’ll be able to stick little reminders of her greatness anywhere she wants. The perfect gift to stick it to the patriarchy where it counts —literally and figuratively.

READ: Show Your BFF How Much You Care With These Super Thoughtful Gifts