Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Our Christmas Traditions- Novenas

Some of the best childhood Christmas memories that I have are those that have to do with the family traditions my brother and I were brought up with since we were little. Being Colombian and having that Latin heritage did not make our Christmas's  necessarily traditional as what you or I would know it today.

Our Holidays looked something like this:

*Our holiday get togethers (including Thanksgiving) consisted of 4-5+ families of  friends we considered to be family and we did all our holidays together.

*Our big night is Christmas Eve, La Noche Buena. Its the culminating night before Jesus is born and gifts were opened at midnight. Christmas day was a day to relax and enjoy our gifts.

*Christmas Eve dinner was a customary Pernil (pork leg) with black beans and rice and salad...Turkey and mash potatoes were nowhere to be found.


*Dessert was not cookies or cake, but natilla and buñuelos (hard corn pudding, and a fried cheese ball). Neither sound appetizing, but there was no holiday without these!!

*Instead of caroling there was Cumbia dancing all night,

*Dinner was usually served around 11pm and that's when someone remembered to say something!

*Our Santa Clause was "El Niño Dios" (Baby Jesus)

*And instead of our "Santa Gift" gift going under the tree, we would wake up with our "Traido de Niño Dios" (what Baby Jesus got us) at the foot of our beds.

Sooo not traditional, but I love remembering all of this!

 Most of the families that we grew up with are still some of the closest and best of friends we have today, and we all have a great time reminiscing about all of these traditions that made our  holidays soo particularly special!
Our Generation

Of course as we have grown up and started families of our own, things have changed. Each family unit has expanded and included their own new cultures/traditions to their family festivities, and in my family's case, for the most part, has turned into the more traditional American Christmas holiday with a little latin thrown in for my boys and our family to experience.

The New Generation
However, my friends and I for the last 4-5 years have tried to keep some of our old childhood Colombian traditions alive for our generation of kids. We have really felt strongly about giving them the same special moments we had as children. One of those traditions we keep dear to our hearts is our Christmas Novenas:

A Christmas Novena is a Catholic prayer service that is started every year on December 16th and goes for 9 days leading upto Christmas Eve. It is a set of daily prayers that follow the story of Mary and Joseph finding their way to the inn before Jesus is born.

(My husband's family is Mexican and they have a similar service called "Posadas" that they were brought up with)

So the tradition we had was to go to a different family friend's home each of those nights for this service. One of our mom's would lead the prayers out of this special little book, there was lots of singing especially the "Ven, Ven, Ven song" (the song our memories are based from), and signing of Villancicos (spanish Christmas songs), we would all take instruments to play, and have some coffee and desserts.

So we have been getting together year after year to do the same, and to hopefully instill some of the same traditions for them to pass on to their kids. We've also added our own twist by sharing a bit more food than just coffee and dessert every night, (more like smorgasbord of treats), and each host has some gift raffles to give
each night for some added fun.

As mom's ourselves, we have taken over leading the prayers too. Its nice to know that we are now inheriting that place our mothers had as heads of this tradition.

Overall, It has gotten to the point where our kids are loving the Novenas have started to expect them as part of their Christmas holiday as well. You'll catch our kids now asking, "When do the novenas start up again?" Music to our ears!

Our Novenas started last Friday, but I thought I'd introduce the idea and would take the next few days to document them and share with you all so you can experience them along with us!

Here's to all our family traditions...from my corner to yours!

1 comment:

Nat said...

Now I really appreciate these traditions now that I'm older. Hugs!