Christmas Traditions of Latin America

Christmas Traditions of Latin America

Customs are fascinating and the Christmas ones are no exception. Throughout Latin the world Christmas is celebrated differently but the joy of Christmas is maintained between each country. Today I will be sharing the Christmas traditions of two different countries. I hope you can try them out with your family!


The way of celebrating posadas has changed over time but they have always been characterized by candy, buñuelos, punch, candles, aguinaldos (sweets or fruits) and breaking piñatas. The posadas are held from December 16 to 24. It is customary to "ask for a posada" and celebrate when the guests of the house open the doors. The tradition is to have two groups, the first is usually inside the hosts of the house. The second group is the guests, and they are outside the house. The request for “posada”is done by singing a pilgrimage song; the people who are outside represent Joseph and Mary in their course from Jerusalem to Bethlehem. This song is an exchange between the two groups, the group that is outside begins by singing "En el nombre del cielo os pido posada pues no puede andar, mi esposa amada". The group that is inside rejects the pilgrims and sings “"Aquí no es mesón, sigan adelante no les puedo abrir, no vaya ser un tunante”. Then the pilgrims outside must sing three more times until the doors open. When they open, they sing "Entren santos peregrinos, peregrinos, reciban este rincón, que aunque es pobre la morada, la morada, os la doy de corazón." En ese momento, todos los invitados entran a la casa y ya se puede celebrar! " At that moment, all the guests enter the house and it is time to celebrate! It is also a tradition that the house gives posada the Christmas aguinaldos which are gifts for the guests. These posadas are held between entire streets or within families, where each family takes turns to have the posadas in their home until Christmas Day.


In many parts of Spain, Christmas is celebrated by having a Tio de Nadal in each household. Tio de Nadal is another word for a christmas log. The tradition begins on December 8, spaniards have a piece of wood that they place inside their home.They attach a nose, paint a face, give it two legs, a hat and a scarf. As Christmas gets closer, Spaniards stuff the log each day with different small gifts, feeding it until Christmas day. On the eve of christmas, the log is then put under the fire and everyone in the house will take turns hitting the log until the gifts come out. 

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Written by: Valeria Flores. University of California, Los Angeles. Degree in Spanish and Linguistics. Bilingual teacher. 

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