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A Different Kind of Christmas

December 1, 2022
Garrett Christensen

Christmas in the Hispanic Community

Garrett Christensen

The Hispanic community has their own distinct winter holiday traditions. 

For many in the Hispanic community, the time around Christmas day runs into one long celebration. For Mexicans, Christmas time can last for nearly a month. 

“We start celebrating around the 15th of December and it’s called Posadas,” said junior exercise science major Danyah Morales. “We meet up at a person’s house and then we have a little party.” To honor the story of Mary and Joseph looking for a place to stay in Bethlehem, Morales's family goes around to different families’ houses and celebrates with them in the weeks leading up to Christmas. [1] 

In addition, for most Hispanic families, the main celebration of Christmas happens on Christmas Eve. Nochebuena, as it is often called, is the time when they eat the big Christmas meal and open presents. [2] 

Family, community, and food are the focus of most Christmas celebrations in the Hispanic community. 

“My Mom sometimes makes tamales a week before [Christmas] and we’re eating tamales and I get so tired of them,” said senior English major Emily Martinez. Then, for Christmas Eve, “it’s like all day we’re prepping [food], and it can be kind of stressful.” [3] 

Junior elementary special education major Dolores Mora said, “[My mom] loves to invite people over. Like, anybody. She tells them to come eat, too; we have a lot of food. Oh, they commented on your video, tell them to come eat too.” [4] 

In the Dominican Republic, Mora remembered not having a lot, so Christmas time was when everyone came together. All the family would be around, and the whole community would just be celebrating together. [5] 

Music also plays a big role in Hispanic Christmas celebrations. “I feel like our culture has a lot of emphasis on music. And I feel like it just helps us create a happy atmosphere,” said Mora. She continued, “[My mom] has the music in the morning blasting. That’s usually how she starts her day. And then Christmas, [it’s] loud. I don’t even understand what’s going on.” [6] 

The celebrations continue through New Year’s Day, and then, for some, even longer than that. El Día de los Reyes Magos happens a week after New Year’s on January 6th. “Children usually put their shoes outside and the next day, the wise men would have left gifts for them inside of their shoes (but it is not required to fit in their shoes - it can be any present),” said senior bioengineering major Egan Schmidt-Weiss. [7] 

Next time you feel caught up in the rush of the holiday season, learn from the Hispanic community. Focus on family and community and remember to give back. Maybe even let loose a little and blast Christmas music; it will help you feel a lot better and more grateful. 

 

References 

  1. Interview with Danyah Morales on 11/17/22. 
  2. Ibid. 
  3. Interview with Emily Martinez on 11/16/22. 
  4. Interview with Dolores Mora on 11/16/22. 

      5-6. Ibid. 

  1. Interview with Egan Schmidt-Weiss on 11/17/22.
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