Christmas in Latin America known as Navidad is one of the most important events in the year. It is celebrated with even more devotion than in other parts of the world due to the omnipresence of Christianity; after all, Christmas is centered around the age-old story of Jesus’ birth on the 24th of December.

For most Latinos it is very much a religious holiday with families attending together the Misa de Gallo (Mass of the Rooster because it usually finishes at 1 am when the rooster announces the coming day). Christmas Eve or Noche Buena really is the time of giving, but many Latin American families also keep alive the Día de los Tres Reyes. Those children who have behaved themselves well will receive a second round of presents on January 6th from the Three Wise Men, just like they did after Jesus was born.

Besides all the similarities, there is great influence from the different indigenous people of the region and many Latin American cultures hang on to their own curiosities during Christmas time:

celebrating Christmas in Latin America

In Chile they do a toast with a monkey’s tail. Not what you might think, but the cola de mono is a traditional Christmas cocktail made with milk, coffee, sugar, cinnamon and brandy.  Father Christmas is known as Viejito Pascuero who wishes everyone a Feliz Navidad. And at New Year’s Eve they have the habit to burn huge dolls made out of old clothes, paper and wood with the fire supposedly eradicating all the bad and purifying the start of the New Year.