5 Christmas Traditions in Latino Households

Latinos’ love going all out when it comes to the holidays. This is especially true when it comes to the most wonderful time of the year! While the ways that Latinos’ celebrate the holidays vary from country to country and from household to household, one thing holds Celebrating Navidad is more than a religious holiday. Christmas is also about familia, friends, food, and culture. Keep on reading to learn more about typical Christmas traditions in Latino households.

5 Christmas Traditions in Latino Households

1. Posadas

Just before Navidad, many Latinos take part in a posada, a ritual re-enactment of Mary and Joseph’s search for lodging in Bethlehem. According to Hacienda Tres Rios, Mexican families hold a posada party in each of their homes from December 16th through December 24th.

posada San Jose ca

Posada Celebration at the School of Arts and Culture in San Jose, CA | Mercury News

The host serves as “innkeeper” while the guests sing a song and offer ponche caliente, buñuelos and tamales in exchange for shelter. Besides serving as a re-enactment of Mary and Joseph’s search, posadas also involve socializing, delicious food, and family fun including the rupturing of a star-shaped piñata filled with candy.

2.  Nochebuena

While most American families typically celebrate Christmas during the morning of Christmas Day, Latinos kick off the festivities on Christmas Eve, also known as Nochebuena (The Good Night).

Misa Del Gallo

Misa Del Gallo | 20 Minutos

The Huffington Post points out that although the night’s activities may vary from household to household, most Nochebuenas’ consist of family, large feasts, music, dancing, and gift-giving. If the families are Catholic, they may also attend a late Mass also known as Misa del Gallo (Rooster’s Mass).          

3. Night of the Radishes

The people of Oaxaca have their own unique way of celebrating Christmas. Because radishes are a staple to the Oaxacan culture, on December 23rd, artisans carve radishes to take on the elaborate shape of Jesus and other objects in the Nativity scene.

Oaxaca radish festival | © Anna Bruce/Culture Trip

Oaxaca radish festival | © Anna Bruce/Culture Trip

Oaxacans see this as a way of not only having fun but as a way of promoting local agriculture. During this unique festival, Oaxacans also celebrate Navidad through traditional food, music, and dance.

4. Tamaladas 

 No holiday is complete without tamales in a Latino household.

Tamalada / Image

Tamalada | 5280

Because tamales are a traditional staple in Latino households, families and neighbors gather around during the holidays to participate in tamaladas, or tamal making partiesMaking tamales can be a time-consuming task. As a result,  participants bond while sharing their own tamal recipies and prepare this yummy “must-have” in bulk.

5. Parrandas

 In Puerto Rican Households, parrandas are common during the holiday season. According to the Huffington Post, a parranda is a tradition in which friends, family members, or even strangers, visit each other’s homes spontaneously and overtake them with holiday merriment.

Parranda | Pinterest

They do so while playing instruments such as maracas, guitars, and tambourines. While others dance along to the music, others sing and fill homes with their contagious holiday spirit. Besides singing and dancing, Puerto Ricans also take the time to socialize and consume traditional food and drinks such as rum.

While Christmas traditions in Latino households may vary from household to household. They all undoubtedly involve tasty food and good times with families and friends. What are your favorite Christmas traditions?

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