One of the joys of living in a country with such a high number of immigrants is witnessing how people from different cultures meld traditions from their home country with those of the U.S. Christmastime for Latino immigrants is no different, though the traditions brought from Latin America are much more evident in areas with a large Hispanic community.
Latinos living in the States certainly don’t leave their Christmas traditions behind, but rather they add them to those they’ve found here. As Latin America is predominantly Catholic, Latinos bring the focus on religion and family to their celebrations stateside, something that is often overlooked in the secularization of the holiday.
While each country in Latin America has different traditions, there are some similarities. Posadas, which reenact the journey Mary and Joseph took to Bethlehem, are most famous in Mexico, but are also done in other countries. Puerto Rico has a similar tradition called parrandas. Follow this link to read a description of posadas. It’s not uncommon to see Latinos having posadas in their neighborhoods in the U.S. from December 16th to December 24th.
Most Latinos have their big family meal on December 24th after attending midnight mass and reserve Christmas Day for relaxing. Since Latin American Christmas revolves more around celebrating Baby Jesus and reuniting with family, Santa Claus and his gifts are brought into the equation because of American influences.
The Hispanic holiday season continues on through January 6th, which is the feast of the Epiphany or El Dia de Los Reyes Magos. On this day, Latinos celebrate the arrival of the three kings or three wise men and children receive gifts. Some may argue that this day is even more joyous than Christmas Eve and many Latinos purchase a special bread called La Rosca De Los Reyes. To read more about this tradition, click here for an article about how this day is celebrated.