Christmas Costume and Tradition

Christmas in Argentina

As on the Northern hemisphere, the days begin to gets shorter and temperatures start dropping, the reverse occurs in the Southern Hemisphere. Argentina has a series of diverse summer climates and landscapes, ranging from breath-taking glaciers, idyllic beaches, crystal clear lakes and soaring mountain peaks. During Christmas the weather in Argentina remains warm. But Christmas is celebrated with intense amount of zeal and excitement. Many people, even if they are not Christian, bestow each other with gifts, prepare feasts and decorate their residences at this time of year. Many aspects of the Christmas celebrations resemble that of Europe. But some condemn that in Argentina Christmas has become too commercial and has been losing its  religious essence and fervor more rapidly than the Christmas in neighboring countries like Venezuela.

Preparations for Christmas in Argentina, begins from early December or even from November. Many people in Argentina are Catholic and they also celebrate Advent, a Sunday, four weeks before Christmas. During this period many families often decorate their houses with embellished advent wreaths, made from evergreen twigs, ribbons and candles. On each of the four Sundays leading up to Christmas, carols are sung, prayers are offered and the candles on the advent wreaths are lit up. During this period, Christmas markets are also held in many towns. People embellish their houses with lights and wreaths of green, gold, red and white flowers. Garlands of red and white color are hung on the doors of houses. Christmas Trees are also very popular and they are often decorated by 8th December which is the day of the feast of the Immaculate Conception, when Catholics commemorate the conception of Mary by Holy Spirit. Children like to place cotton balls on the Christmas tree to represent snow. The Nativity scene or ‘pesebre’ is also an imperative Christmas decoration in every Argentinean household. The pesebre is often placed near to the Christmas tree. The foremost Christmas celebrations in Argentina takes place on Christmas Eve. Many Catholics go to the Mass in the late afternoon. People often like to spend Christmas Day with family members, close friends and relatives. Christmas Day falls in the middle of the summer holidays, and both the days, 25th and 26th December are public holidays. Many people also celebrate the occasion away from home, in beach resorts, on camp sites or at relatives’ homes. The neighbors also often pay their visit to each other’s houses to look at the light displays at night.

On Christmas Day, in various households, children rouse up to discover presents and gifts under their pillows or stockings or under the Christmas tree. Many households enlist a family friend or neighbor to dress up as Santa Claus and distribute gifts to their little ones. Traditionally, the chief Christmas meal is eaten during the evening of Christmas Eve, around 10pm or 11pm. It may include barbecue or some other popular delicious dishes like roasted pork, roasted turkey, salads, stuffed tomatoes and Christmas bread and puddings like Pan Dulce and Panettone.

On Christmas night, in each city there is a celebration of large carols along with candlelight service .At midnight one can witness lots of fireworks throughout Buenos Aires. Some people even attend midnight services, where as other choose to stay at home and witness the fireworks and unwrap their presents. Another Christmas night tradition that one can witness are ‘globos,’ a kind of paper lantern. The sky is filled with them after midnight. Some people even prefer to stay awake throughout all the night, chatting and seeing friends and family.

On Boxing Day, people pay visit to their friends and families and they often have barbecues at the beach along with different entertaining activities like carnival, surfing, swimming and several others. Though Christmas in Argentina may not have the similar flavor and grandeur like countries in Northern Hemisphere, it showcases the South American carnival and festive lifestyle in all its aspects.

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