6 Holiday Traditions Celebrated in Latin America

I’m a Mexican-American and in mi famalia we spend hours cooking (and later enjoying) traditional foods like pozole and sweet breads on Christmas Eve. Food is a huge part of Mexican culture, and I look forward to this time every year to embrace my heritage and reconnect with my family.

As the holidays approach this year, I’ve been thinking about mi famalia’s traditions, as well as holiday traditions practiced throughout Latin America. Here, a round-up of some great ones:

Puerto Ricans celebrate Christmas Eve by going to neighbors’ houses unannounced and singing Christmas carols in a tradition called Las Parrandas. Afterwards, everyone enjoys holiday treats together!

On December 7, Guatemalans go outside to gather sticks and leaves for a tradition that dates back to colonial times. They use what they gather to La quema del diabo (Burn The Devil), which they believe cleanses any ‘devils’ that are hidden in their homes.

Argentines light and release globos (paper balloons) on Christmas Eve. Plastic Christmas trees take the place of real trees and are replaced every seven years to avoid bad luck.

Venezuelans celebrate Christmas Day by enjoying Pan de Hamon, a dish that’s made with ham, bread, raisins, and sometimes even olives, along with hallacas (the Venezuelan version of a tamale).

After opening presents on Christmas Eve, Peruvians stay up late for Noche Buena. At midnight, the adults toast with champagne and children raise mugs of hot chocolate.

The color that Dominicans wear on New Year’s Day reflects their hopes for the New Year– think green for money, red for a bright future, and white for good health.

Photo: Getty

*This post is sponsored by American Family Insurance.