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

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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: “ 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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11 Songs Latinos Play During Christmas Season


11 Songs Latinos Play During Christmas Season

Christmas is a holiday that is celebrated in a multitude of ways throughout the world.  It is invaluable to keep traditions alive in all cultures.  While many Latino cultures celebrate the holidays in unique manners, they all carry the same message.  And, what could be more important in sharing those values than sharing in some great holiday music.

While there are some classic Spanish numbers that have become a necessity for anyone’s playlist, we decided it would be great to have a list of songs that can help you spread the Christmas cheer this winter.  So cozy up with the family, and get in the spirit of the season with these classics.

La Sonora Matancera w/ Celia Cruz – “Campanas de Navidad”

Instagram @Christmas4you1

What’s it About –

This is a translated version of the all-time classic Jingle Bells.  Originally written in English in the 1800s, the theme is timeless.  There is a spirit of joy to the song that speaks on riding in a sleigh and listening to the bells ring through the snow.

What Makes it Great –

There are quite a number of translations for all sorts of Christmas carols.  However, this recording from a young Celia Cruz in 1958 has become a classic and adds a dancing feel to any Cuban Christmas.  One of the most popular holiday songs in the world deserved this peppy version.

Jenni Rivera – “Amarga Navidad”

Instagram @Christmas4you1

What’s it About –

While it may not be as upbeat as most Christmas songs, Amarga Navidad is still a classic in its own right.  The theme is about a woman who is asking her partner to leave on Christmas Eve.  Though it may sound depressing, there is the idea of getting ready for a new year with a better life.

What Makes it Great –

Christmas can bring up many emotions, and Jenni Rivera’s bitter holiday ballad isn’t afraid to touch on some of the more difficult feelings.  Breaking the seasonal blues can be tough so a song that hits as hard as this can be therapeutic.

Luis Aguile – “Ven a Mi Casa Esta Navidad”

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What’s it About –

Ven a mi casa Esta Navidad translates to English as “Come to my house this Christmas”.  The song does not speak to any one person in particular but is more of an open message that nobody should be alone on the holidays.  It is about opening your doors to anybody that could use a little company and a friend.

What Makes it Great –

Luis Aguile was more than just a singer and songwriter, he helped to define Latino culture for many of those in Central and Southern America.  Ven a Mi Casa Esta Navidad has become an anthem for the holidays and has been re-recorded by many popular artists throughout the years.

Juanes – “Mi Burrito Sabenero”

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What’s it About –

Burritos may be a standard staple in Mexican cuisine, however, that is not what this song is about.  Burrito actually means ‘little donkey’ and the lyrics are about a rider encouraging his donkey to make it to Bethlehem as fast as he can.

What Makes it Great –

The song has a few different titles and has been a staple for many generations in Latino culture.  However, the recording that Juanes performed in 2006 has quickly become one of the most popular.  There shouldn’t be any Latino Christmas playlist without this poppy rendition.

Felix Del Rosario – “Alegre Vengo”

Instagram @Christmas4you1

What’s it About –

Alegre Vengo, or Happy to Come, is a traditional Puerto Rican Christmas carol.  In Puerto Rica, Christmas Eve is a big party and everyone rejoices in the holiday together.  So, this song is about the joy of bringing everyone together and the fun that it brings.

What Makes it Great –

Any song that has stood the test of time as this one has deserves to be recognized as a classic.  The recording that Felix Del Rosario made in the ’90s helped to bring the traditional song into a modern age and has been a winter anthem since.

Los Toribianitos – “Canta, Rie, Bebe”

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What’s It About –

Singing, laughing, and drinking.  This song is all about Christmas Eve when everybody should be having a great time.  And, what could be better for any Latino family than singing, laughing and drinking.

What Makes it Great –

This song has been an essential Christmas song in Spain for a long time.  It is these types of traditions that need to be cherished in an ever-changing society.  Being performed by a choir brings back the sense of community and spirit that this song is all about.

Willie Colon and Hector Lavoe – “La Murga”

Instagram @Christmas4you1

What’s It About –

At first, La Murga may not seem like a Christmas song, which is because it is more connected with Carnival, which is still a part of the festive season.  This song is still a great salsa anthem all year round even for being almost 50 years old.

What Makes it Great –

Nobody will argue that La Murga has one of the greatest trombone openings of any song ever.  If you want a Latin song that you can dance to these holidays than look no further.  This is a classic that is still a solid jam for any playlist.

Pandora – “Los Peces en el Rio”

Instagram @Christmas4you1

What’s It About –

Los Peces en el Rio is another traditional Spanish holiday carol.  This one is pretty heavy on the religious end, but if that is your thing then this is an important song that will probably take you back to childhood.

What Makes it Great –

If you want to make a traditional song even better, you let a pop band trio like Pandora make their own rendition.  The ’80s were a wild time for all music, but this Christmas song has stood the test of time.

Andrea Boccelli – “Navidad Blanca”

Instagram @Christmas4you1

What’s it About –

Another traditionally English Christmas song, White Christmas was written by Bing Crosby in the 1950s.  It is about the purity and warmth of the holidays and spending it with the people that mean the most to you.

What Makes it Great –

Andrea Boccelli is famous for having a voice that could make any song great.  For him to take a classic song such as this and add his own flare was destined to be memorable.  If you want to feel that rich Christmas spirit then throw this song on.

Alejandro Sanz – “Noche de Luz”

Instagram @Christmas4you1

What’s It About –

Noche de Luz, or Night of Light, is all about that warmth that we all feel the night of Christmas Eve.  This soulful song adds a depth to the holiday season that can bring you in touch with all of those richest feelings.

What Makes it Great –

The Spanish pop star Alejandro Sanz really lets it out with this Christmas song.  Adding a flare of Flamenco and being supported by backup singers and an orchestra, this is a full, well-rounded song for the season of joy.

José Feliciano – “Feliz Navidad”

Instagram @Christmas4you1

What’s It About –

Pure Christmas happiness and well wishes.  This is the Latino Christmas song to end all Latino Christmas songs.

What Makes it Great –

Well, it may just be one of the greatest Christmas songs written in any language.  First performed in 1970, people are singing this song in all corners of the world every holiday season.

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