Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Christmas with Christina and Mariah Today!

Bet you didn't knot that Christina Aguilera and Mariah Carey were from Venezuela (at least according to Wikipedia)! So we'll just crash at their houses today. I am really excited about Christmas in Venezuela. I found some REALLY neat traditions to share with you.

Like most of the Hispanic cultures we have visited the celebration begins on December 16th with the display of the nativity which they call the pecebres. They also begin their Misas de Aguinaldo (Early Morning Masses) which happen daily. And don't think you get to sleep through it! They set of predown firecrackers to make sure everyone knows what time it is.

And if the firecrackers weren't enough to get you going watch the streets of Caracas (the capital). The streets are shut down so that people can rollerskate to mass. Every night before going to bed the children tie a string to their big toes and hang the string out the window. As the skaters go by they tug on any strings they see dangling. Now there's a wake up call!

On Christmas Eve things change up a little and they attend an evening mass called Nochebuena de Navidad (The Good Night of Christmas) which is followed by a traditional family dinner of hallacas (similar to Mexican tamales), pan de jamon (bread stuffed with ham and raisins - I'm thinking like a stromboli?); and dulce de lechoza (a dessert made of green papaya and brown sugar).

Have you noticed the lack of presents yet? That's because like Mexico they celebrate Dia de los Reyes (Day of the Kings) on January 6th. The night before the children leave straw out for the Wise Men's camels and in the morning it is replaced with gifts. If the children check the mirror they may even find a black smudge on their cheek showing that Balthazar the King of the Ethiopians blessed them with a kiss in their sleep.

I don't know about the rest of you but this sounds like a lot of really fun ways to celebrate the holiday! I wonder what would be left behind if an angel kissed your child in their sleep. This might be a good tradition to begin in our house this year!
**Sources for today's traditions -;;



Tina said...

Very interesting! Thanks for sharing :) It was fun to visit Venezuela.

jennifer said...

How cool is roller skating to mass every morning?