Holidays are a time for festive celebrations. Few such occasions are celebrated on a grander scale than Christmas. Most countries have established their own traditions over years, decades and, in certain instances, centuries. The large South American nation of Argentina is no exception. Here you can learn more about some of this land’s more well-known Christmas traditions.
The Recognition Of Advent
The Christian period of advent, which begins four Sundays prior to Christmas and lasts until Christmas Day, recognizes the coming of Jesus to the world. During this time, celebrants prepare for the upcoming holiday and participate in numerous events, such as, attending church services, singing carols and lighting candles.
Hanging Of Decorations
Akin to many other countries, Argentineans hang a variety of decorations and ornaments commemorating the Christmas season. These items typically feature the noted Christmas colors of green, red and white. Additionally, flowers, often red or white varieties are adorned inside homes and public venues.
In most traditions, the staple of all Christmas decorations is the Christmas tree. Trees are usually adorned with ornaments commonly employed in other nations. That said, one unique spin Argentineans have adopted in placing cotton balls in tree limbs or branches to stand in place of snow. This is because the Christmas season is typically quite warm and is highly unlikely to feature any actual snow.
Many families designate December 8 to complete tree decorations. This holiday is sacred to Catholics, the branch of Christianity of which most Argentines adhere to. This date is the Feast of The Immaculate Conception, the day on which observers believe Mary, the Mother of God, was immaculately conceived.
Placing The Nativity Scene
The nativity scene, which is also known as the depiction of Jesus’s birth is considered important to the Argentinean people. Natives refer to this sacred decoration as the Pesebre and carefully place it around the Christmas tree. The Pesebre is also typically laid down on December 8.
Christmas Eve is amongst the most important times on the Christian calendar. Argentina commemorates the special evening with several notable traditions, including:
The Lighting Of Globos
Globos are tiny white, paper balloons one lights from within and subsequently sets free in the sky. in certain parts of the country, these items literally illuminate the night sky.
Family Begins To Gather
Christmas is a significant family holiday in Argentina and close relations are expected to spend this holiday with relatives. Gathering usually commences Christmas Eve. Family reunions are especially encouraged during the Christmas season.
Christmas Eve Mass
One traditional activity traditionally performed by Argentine people is attending Christmas Eve church services with members of their family and community. Services usually commence in the early evening and last for several hours.
Visiting Of Neighbors Homes
Though Christmas Eve is extremely family oriented, community gatherings are also encouraged. It is not uncommon for neighbors to visit each other on Christmas Eve and on Christmas Day.
Christmas Eve Meal
The primary Christmas meal is consumed on Christmas Eve. The meal has several courses and typically goes on for hours.
The setting off of fireworks on Christmas Eve is a tradition relatively unique to Argentina and a handful of other South American nations. In certain locations, fireworks might be seen and heard as late as the dawn of Christmas morning.
In some households a toast is performed to usher in Christmas Day. Towards midnight or slightly thereafter, the home’s head or the oldest present member will call everyone to attention, raise their glass and toast the dawning of Christmas Day. The other revelers will follow the toaster’s prompts, raise their glasses and ring in the holiday.
Usually, Christmas Day in Argentina is a far more casual, unscheduled affair when compared to the previous evening. That said, this day is not void of specific traditions, including:
Families are less bound by religious tradition on Christmas Day. However, it is not uncommon for such units or their neighbors, friends and other close relations to gather at events, like parillas, which are outdoor barbecues. Some people choose smaller and less strenuous events, including picnics.
One major tradition performed by all Argentine people regardless of their age, residence or background, is greet the individuals they come into contact with Feliz Navidad, which is loosely translated into the popular American and English greeting known as Merry Christmas.
Like most cultures, various special meals are traditionally eaten by Argentineans during the Christmas period.
Christmas Eve Dinner
The meal’s main course usually consists of meats, such as, pork or turkey. However, other meats, including, steak, goat and veal might be served in place of or to supplement traditional offerings. Additionally, the meal is often comprised of numerous side dishes, including mince pies, stuffed tomatoes and a variety of salads.
One quite unique feature of Argentine Christmas Eve dinners includes a supplemental offering called mini sandwiches. Each one is bestowed a unique name given what the food product contained inside or the binding bread or specific grain the product is made out of.
Popular items include the pan de arun, translated as tuna tuna sandwiches, sandwiches de miga, comprised of single, double or triple layered concoctions of white bread with the crusts edged off and torre de panqueques, which are pancake-like creations filled with countless different products.
After the main meal, several different traditional deserts are often served. Some specific items, including, pan dulce, which is bread pudding, panetone, a special type of sweet bread, fruit salads, chocolate covered raisins, ice cream, an assortment of cakes, sugar coated nuts, mantecol, a type of peanut butter nougat and hard nougat known as turron.
Christmas Day Meals
As the Christmas Day schedule is less formal, meals are typically eaten the individual family’s discretion. Typically, there are no traditional foods consumed and could be the previous evening’s leftovers or an assortment of new offerings.
Three Kings Day
Typically, The Christmas days are merely the beginning of the an Argentine family’s celebrations. Reveling usually lasts into the new year until January 6, on which the sacred Three Kings Day falls. This holiday remembers the when The Three Kings arrived in Bethlehem to greet the baby Jesus, deliver special gifts and to witness His baptism. This day is also commonly referred to as The Epiphany.
In celebration of this blessed event, Argentine children leave their shoes outside the front door’s of their homes to be filled with gifts. Furthermore, many families open their Christmas gifts on this day.