Christmas is one of the most important festivals in Central America and is celebrated with religious fervor and excitement. Days before the actual celebratory day, shops, streets and houses start buzzing with the Christmas fever. There is merry-making everywhere. People put on the best robes and dress in style, to welcome the upcoming festival. Christmas trees and manger scenes are seen everywhere, right from churches to public areas. Each country in Central America celebrates the birth of Christ in a unique and distinctive way. In the following lines, we have provided information on Christmas celebrations in different countries of Central America.
Christmas Celebrations In Central America
Vibrancy and effervescence dominate the scenario in Costa Rica, during Christmas. The whole country seems to be enveloped in the religious fervor. Almost three weeks prior to the arrival of Christmas, roads, shops and houses are beautifully decorated. Almost every corner of Costa Rica forwards a Christmas tree that is embellished with numerous shiny objects. Apart from this, there is a 'Portal' at every church, representing the birth of Jesus, with the figures of Mary, Joseph, Melchor, Gaspar and Baltazar, the ox and the mule. One of the unique parts of Christmas celebration in Costa Rica is that it's not Santa Claus who brings the gift. Instead, gifts are brought by Baby Jesus, the night before Christmas called la "Noche Buena", while they are sleeping. Lavish dinners also accompany the Christmas Eve celebrations, wherein 'tamal' is made.
In Nicaragua, Christmas is celebrated on 24th December, rather than 25th of December. Celebrations start from the 6th day of December. On the next day, the La Purisima or the Immaculate Conception of Virgin Mary is celebrated. On this day, the young people of the country sing holy hymns, in praise of Virgin Mary. In the following weeks, people of Nicaragua bask themselves in the festive fever, buying candles, images of Nativity, presents, small Nativity figures, toys, flower bouquets and various types of food items. The entire month of December marks utmost religious festivity, as splendid fireworks and awe striking decor governs the place. However, actual celebrations begin on December 16, with the performance of the lodging difficulties of Mary and Joseph. Right till Christmas Eve, prayers are held every evening, which is followed by refreshments and the singing of carols. In short, adornment of the house, sumptuous dinners, elaborate parades and merriment rules the country of Nicaragua on Christmas.
In Guatemala, Christmas is celebrated in a traditional manner, blending the Mayan culture with Spanish Christian religious philosophy. Ideally, the festival of Christmas is performed by the community in the form of processions and novenas. Elaborate processions dominate the Christmas season, with several religious statues. An image of a white bearded image representing God can be seen at the end of the parade. The procession is accompanied by loud drum beats and firecrackers. On Christmas Eve, Christ child is added to the processions. Most of the churches and public arenas display manger scene, known as Nacimientos in local language. Midnight Mass, known as Misa de Gallo or the Mass of the Rooster, marks the end of the festival. The tradition of having a Christmas tree in the house was introduced in Guatemala by the German immigrants.