12 Latino Holiday Festivities And Traditions That Are Bigger Than Christmas Itself

*This is from a 2015 post, but the list still stands. Tomorrow night is Noche de Rábanos. VL


By Tanisha Love Ramirez, The Huffington Post (6minute read)

Santa Claus, reindeer and jingle bells are great, but they’re hardly the be all, end all of Christmas celebrations for many Latinos.

While many people around the world gather together on Dec. 25 to deck the halls and exchange gifts with family and friends, Latinos’ celebrations begin well before Christmas day and sometimes last into the first week of January. And don’t get us started on the size of our holiday parties.

Latinos’ holiday celebrations are BIG, with families, friends and, at times, entire neighborhoods, coming together to eat, drink, sing and dance until the wee hours of the morning. And depending on each family’s religious beliefs, some attend a special Midnight Mass.

Though Latinos’ holiday celebrations vary from country to country and from household to household, one thing holds true across the board: Latino holiday traditions and festivities are the gifts that keep on giving.

We’ve rounded up 12 time-honored Latino traditions that never fail to put us in the holiday spirit.

  • Día de las Velitas
    LUIS ROBAYO via Getty Images
    Día de las Velitas is celebrated in Colombia on Dec. 7, marking the beginning of the holiday season. Families, friends and neighbors light candles in public areas and neighborhoods in honor of the Virgin Mary and her Immaculate Conception, which is celebrated on Dec. 8.
  • Posadas
    Flickr:kat_egli
    Christmas Posadas are most popular in Mexico, Guatemala and parts of the southwest United States. Children and adults dress up as Mary and Joseph in small processions that are held during the nine days before Christmas Eve. The Posadas are supposed to be a reenactment of Joseph and Mary’s — “The Pilgrims”— search for lodging on their way to Bethlehem. According to Mex Connect, the tradition includes a party at a different neighborhood home each night. “The Pilgrims” sing a song asking for shelter, with the hosts replying in song before opening the door to offer hot punch, fried rosette cookies known as buñuelos, steaming tamales and other holiday foods. The party ends with the rupturing of a piñata in the shape of the Christmas star.
  • Oaxaca Radish Festival Mexico
    Flickr:planeta
    It is known as “Noche de Rabanos,” or “Radish Night,” a century-old celebration held every December 23 in the main square in the city of Oaxaca, Mexico. Artisans carve and fashion radishes into elaborate scenes and human figures in one of the most unique celebrations in the world. Radishes are made to look like Jesus and other characters in the nativity scene. There’s traditional music, dance and typical food. And let’s not forget the piñata!

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[Photos courtesy of Huffington Post]

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