As we prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ, I’m exited to share some Christmas traditions, and how we celebrate Christmas in Bolivia; my homeland.
My family immigrated to the United States when I was just 11 years old, my husband’s family arrived from the Philippines in the same year. Seven years later, we married and formed a family that has managed to keep Bolivian and Filipino traditions, while also adopting American traditions, and in recent years British traditions. I guess you can say we love Christmas, and we love to pass down traditions.
I’d love for you to grab a cup of hot chocolate, and learn a bit about how Christmas is celebrated in Bolivia.
The Nativity and The Christ Child
In the latter weeks of November, every family sets-up elaborate nativity scenes. These include lakes, hills, houses, all sorts of animals, shepherds and angels. Many of these take up entire rooms in many homes. I remember working on our nativity setting for hours with both of my parents. Just take a look at some of the pictures below.
The central piece of the nativity of course is the Christ child typically made of porcelain or plaster. It is typically passed down from generation to generation. Traditionally, it should be gifted to you, purchasing one for your own nativity is considered very bad luck.
This one belonged to my grandmother’s grandmother. Though it’s chipped in several places, and it’s not as fancy as others, it has a great deal of sentimental value. It has been passed down for 5 generations, and I will one day pass it down to my oldest daughter.
Yet another tradition related to the Christ child is to clothe him in new garments each year, and since a great majority of the Bolivian population is catholic, believers take the Christ to the Misa de Gallo (Christmas Mass) on Christmas Eve for a yearly blessing.