How Is La Navidad en Venezuela?
Holidays are peppered throughout the year and vary per country. One holiday that’s celebrated in every country is Christmas. While there are differences in how people celebrate regarding traditions and customs, it’s still a happy and exciting time overall in Hispanic culture.
Christmas in Venezuela for example is celebrated on the 24th of December. Just like in other Hispanic countries, Christmas eve is probably more important than Christmas day itself.
Christmas in Venezuela however puts a bit of Hispanic flair into the holiday by adding religious ceremonies and festivals to it.
The religious celebrations for Christmas begin on December 16. This day is marked with mass services that churches hold in the morning, and these masses are celebrated every day until the 24th. These masses are called Misas de Aguinaldo.
It’s also on these days that Venezuelans light firecrackers and ring bells in the wee hours of the morning to wake worshipers up and get them ready for mass.
The most devout of Venezuelans make sure they attend all the masses and also observe the carol services. The environment fills with gaitas and Christmas music everywhere.
One tradition that is pretty peculiar for celebrating Christmas in Venezuela is for people in Caracas to roller skate to attend mass services.
Streets close to cars until 8 in the morning, and children are put to bed earlier than usual to give them enough strength for getting up early to attend mass the next day. At the end of the mass, people go out and eat tostados and drink coffee.
On December 24th, Venezuelans celebrate Nochebuena. The midnight mass that’s held on this night called Misa de Gallo. The whole family attends this service and they go home to sit and enjoy a huge fancy dinner.
Families gather not only to eat but also to thank Jesus for this special Christmas night, La Navidad. Beforehand families get together to prepare traditional Christmas dishes.
The night of Nochebuena the table has Hallacas which is a meal made of flour, chicken or beef wrapped in plantain leaves, pan de jamon which is a long loaf of bread filled with raisins and cooked ham, dulces de cochinito and dulce de lechoza which is a dessert made of brown sugar and green papaya that’s cooked slowly for many hours.
To drink, rum and the famous Ponche Crema made with condensed milk, eggs, sugar and rum that has to be 100% Venezuelan are the top choices.
Venezuelans not only eat the traditional Hispanic Christmas meals. Christmas in Venezuela is also celebrated with a turkey, salad with cold vegetables and chicken with fruits and green herbs.
Christmas Decorations in Venezuela
Christmas lights decorate the houses of Venezuelans. Like in many other Hispanic countries, in Venezuela it’s tradition to display the nativity scene complete with the manger, a few farm animals, the Virgin Mary and Joseph.
Artificial Christmas trees are also the norm and houses are filled with Christmas lights that make la Navidad happy and lit.
At midnight, firecrackers light up the night and families add the figure of baby Jesus to the Nacimiento or nativity scene.
Religious families say a little prayer and sing a few Christmas carols while other families gather around the nativity and Christmas tree to exchange gifts. Adults drink a glass of wine, rum or Ponche Crema.
Baby Jesus leaves presents for children under the tree on the night of the 24th like it is tradition in many other Hispanic culture countries.
Christmas Nativities Take Center Stage
Video at the top by chaconsilver