Many Americans venture to Europe to celebrate the holidays. But, there are other options for a festive getaway, like South America. While Christmas is a joyous time, the traditions differ slightly. For example, it more common for families to display a creche or Presepio than a Christmas tree in their home. For those thinking about spending Christmas in South America, Protect Your Bubble shares a listing of South American customs by country (Source: WorldofChristmas.net).
Brazil – The customs here are very similar to those of the United States. Christmas Eve is celebrated with family and often, a feast before attending Christmas Eve services and even midnight mass at local churches. Similar to American culture, children await a visit from “Papa Noel” who comes to fill their shoes with presents. Christmas is celebrated with a grand feast which includes chicken, ham, rice, turkey, and pork along with salad and rice. Beer and fresh fruits also abound.
Chile – Here, Catholics honor nine days of prayer and fasting before to Christmas. Christmas Eve is usually enjoyed after attending midnight mass, which includes turkey, salad, olives, seafood, and wine. Popular Christmas desserts consist of sweet bread, cake, cookies and fruit. In Chile, Santa Claus is known as Old Man Christmas.
Argentina – December 24 is the most important of the Christmas celebrations, as it’s common belief there that Jesus was born on that day. Like the other countries, celebrations involve church, family time, and feasting. Generally, the menu consists of pork, turkey and sides. Dancing and fireworks are also a part of the Christmas traditions of Argentina.
Venezuela – Children in Venezuela, leave some straw and water beside their bed before going to sleep on January 5th for the Magi and their camels. The tradition is that the children will awake to gifts in the morning, which were swapped from the supplies laid out the night before. If they also awake to find a black smudge upon their cheek, they believe it to be a sign of good fortune. The smudge represents Balthazar, the King of Ethiopia, who is believed to have kissed them while they were asleep. Venezuelans feast on turkey and other local dishes.
Peru – Peruvians venture to the markets to purchase gifts and decorations for Nativity acts that are carried out by most of families. The season is filled with music and songs. Here, children receive presents on Christmas as well as on January 6th, which is the feast of the Three Kings.
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