Christmas in Colombia

The Christmas atmosphere in Bogota starts just after Halloween. In all shops, you can find Christmas decorations, Christmas trees and other accessories. Shops that used to sell home decorations or even flowers change for a while their product line and will sell Christmas decorations for about two months. And Santa Claus will greet us almost at every corner. This is how Christmas in Colombia starts.

Christmas trees will be appearing little by little in the apartments during the whole month of November. Although it is only November you can feel that Christmas is about to come.

At the beginning of December, the local sellers will start selling little candles on the streets. It is due to the holiday on the 8th of December – The Little Candles Night. You can read about it HERE.

Nine days before Christmas in Colombia, the novenas start. It is a Roman Catholic devotion consisting of prayers on nine consecutive days. Families, friends or neighbours gather together to pray, share a meal and spend some time together.

From my humble experience, some Colombians like to spend holidays on the beach or on the so-called Tierra Caliente (places about 60/90 km from Bogota at a lower altitude with average temperatures of 20-30 degrees). It is important to mention that Bogota has a very privileged location. It is situated about an hour or two from the main Carribean destinations such as the Dominican Republic, Mexico or Panama. Or even Colombian Carribean coast with stunning destination as Cartagena de Indias (you can read about it HERE) Santa Marta or a paradise Island San Andres.

The main meal for dinner on the 24th of December is a stuffed turkey. Christmas in Colombia it is also a holiday period for schools. Bogota becomes empty at least till half January. There is no traffic jam during this time. As a European expat family, we have never spent Christmas in Colombia. We used to go back to Spain and Poland to spend it with our families. But once we went to the Dominican Republic just before Christmas. And it is where the featured image for this post comes from 🙂

For New Year’s Eve Colombians eat 12 grapes and make 12 wishes for each month of the upcoming year. Some walk around the house. This is supposed to ensure many travels in the New Year. Some others prepare a dummy stuffed with gunpowder (?) wearing old clothes. It is burnt at midnight along with papers. On the papers, people write what happened that year and that they don’t want to happen again.

And another New Years tradition for a lot of luck in the upcoming year is wearing yellow panties inside out.

22 thoughts on “Christmas in Colombia

  1. Spending Christmas on the beach sounds exciting! I also eat 12 grapes on New Years, but I’ve never heard of the inside out panties – haha that’s so fun/funny! Happy Holidays

  2. It’s so interesting to read about how traditions vary around the world. The photo looks so inviting and come to think of it, we’ve never been to the Carribean but would love to be able to make it down one day with the hubster 😉

  3. As a fellow Colombian, I can say Christmas in our beautiful country is like nothing else. We are from Cali and the families in the barrios are in festivity mode as soon as November hits! Cali puts on a beautiful light display and they also organize a city feria that’s full of dancing, good food and lots of people just celebrating. Hope you enjoy 🙂

    1. I did enjoy all the Christams festivities. I have never been to Cali though. I hope to visit the city one day. It sounds amazing how you celebrate in Cali. Colombia is amazing

  4. I still find in weird to spend Christmas in a hot weather climate rather than the cold, wintery weather in the U.S. I like the tradition of eating the 12 grapes and making wishes. I think it’s just a good way to start of the New Year. Happy holidays to you 🙂

  5. What a beautiful experience to celebrate Christmas in Colombia! That whole country is on my bucket list and I hope to go soon. I think I love the celebration of the Little Candles and the Novena 9!

  6. Columbia, the name itself brings to mind a picture full of colour, festivity and celebration. Almost everywhere in Latin America, people are so festive. No doubt they start their Christmas two months ago. It must be an excellent place to be during the holidays.
    Merry Christmas.

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