It is a beautiful and colorful time. Every home will have a Nativity scene. They have the “Posadas,” an enactment of looking for lodging of St. Joseph and Virgin Mary, nine days before the 24 which is the “Noche Buena” or “Holy Night”.
The hosts of the home are the innkeepers, and the neighborhood children and adults are Los Peregrinos, who carry small lit candles in their hands. The Peregrinos will ask for lodging in three different houses but only the third one will allow them in. After the singing and prayer is done, then it comes the party for the children, there will be a piñata filled with peanuts in the shell, oranges, tangerines, sugar canes, and seldom wrapped hard candy. Of course, there will be other types of chants the children will sing while the child in turn is trying to break the Piñata with a stick while he/she will be blindfolded.
On Noche Buena, December 24, everybody goes to Misa de Noche Buena which is at midnight. After the Mass, everyone goes to their respective homes to have dinner with family and any friend who does not have a family is always welcome to be part of a family celebration, and most important of all to place the Baby Jesus in the manger in the Nativity scene.
The presents are not received on Christmas, for Christmas is a celebration of Life of Our Savior. The children’s celebration of receiving presents is not until January 6th, “el día de Reyes“, the day of the Kings, or the Wise Men Day.
Lately, these traditions have been modified. For example, the Posadas are now nine parties that are celebrated in different friend’s homes before Christmas. Also, mostly among the affluent people, Christmas is now often celebrated the American style, with Santa Claus, the meals and presents.
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