Our next Christmas Post comes from Mariella, all the way from Puerto Rico - thanks for sharing Mariella!
I always wonder when I will stop being considered a child and stop receiving presents on this day... not that I'm complaining because any present is a good present. :)In Puerto Rico, you don't really see any drastic changes in the weather, such as snow (I wish, anyway). The weather remains sunny and tropical-like, which means you are able to go to the beach whenever. As other bloggers have already mentioned, Christmas is celebrated differently by everyone, of course.
All throughout the Christmas season, you may turn into the unsuspecting victim of a parranda. Parrandas are basically when a group of pople sneak up to their friends' houses in the late hours of the night (or you could just say the very early hours of the morning) armed with musical instruments, such as tambourines, guitars, bongoes, maracas, and whatever else. They sing and then are allowed in the house and they proceed to eat and drink before going on to another friend's house. They sing traditional Christmas songs that would go little something like this!
At my house, Mum always makes tarts, little Christmas treats. They are super delicious, and are made with brown sugar, cream cheese, pecans, some coffee, etc. Every time I see that Mum has bought insane amounts of brown sugar (she gifts the little treats to a lot of her friends and family), I know Christmas has really begun.
They seriously are the most delicious things ever. My dad, my brother, and I always look forward to stuffing ourselves with them every Christmas.
On Christmas Eve, which we call "Noche Buena," all the family is together and you basically hang out with them while anticipating the arrival of Santa. Then, on Christmas morning we basically do what everyone does that morning: go crazy opening presents under (or in the case seen in the picture... beside) the tree.
The rest of Christmas day is "family time."There is also another Christmas holiday Puerto Ricans celebrate: Three Kings' Day on January 6th. You know the Three Wise Men that gave gifts to Baby Jesus after his birth? Well, Three Kings' Day is celebrated in their honor. On this day, children wake up to find presents under their bed left by the Three Wise Men.
This is a pretty painting I found as I browsed the web of the Three Kings.
To prepare for this, the night before Janyary 6th, the children take a show box filled with grass and a little container with water for the Wise Men's camels. That is basically all you have to do to get the presents.
This is an old picture of my brother picking up some grass... We had to go outside and go to the small field next door to rip some grass.
So that is a brief summary of what Christmas is like for me in Puerto Rico. I hope you learned a bit about my culture, and that you have a great Christmas and a great New Year, of course.