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.