Latin America has seen 500 years of integration of the cultures of the native Indigenes (indigenous people), Spanish colonizers and African slaves. And Christmas season is one of the most beautiful times of the year to witness these traditions. The Christmas season is a time for the Latin American community to showcase their culture, customs and traditions.
In Brazil, the sea plays a special role during this time as Christmas is celebrated with the music of the waves. Countries like Bolivia and Ecuador celebrate with their traditional delightful music to give a sense of pleasure during this season. In Colombia, big cities like Bogotá, parks and city streets are illuminated with strikingly beautiful Christmas lights and decorations. In El Salvador and Nicaragua, people prepare their traditional food and at midnight, there is an awesome show of fireworks and estrellitas (little stars), which enhances the beauty of landscapes and beaches. Feasts and parties continue till midnight.
Families and friends get together for feasts and parties. Some families visit the Misa del Gallo, or "Rooster Mass" (which means the Christmas Mass), these celebrations begin at midnight. Few people prefer to stay at home and group around the Nativity scenes to pray and sing villancicos. At midnight they wish each other Merry Christmas, exchange gifts and chocolates, and have a grand dinner party. During this time everyone is in a festive mood so there are many parties, stage shows and plays for birth of Jesus.
Another important tradition is to place the baby Jesus figure as part of the Nativity scene, or Pesebre. The Nativity scene is generally set under the tree a month in advance, but the baby Jesus figure is not kept there until midnight of Christmas Eve to symbolise that the Jesus is newborn baby....