Homes, streets, and trees are decorated with lights and balloons in celebration of Christmas in Chile. Pride is taken with wrappings gifts as well, making beautiful packages to fit under the tree. Gift exchanges take place with their loved ones during the season.
Seventy percent of the population consists of Roman Catholics. Because of this, Christmas is one of the most important and religious holidays in Chile. The summer celebration has a strong Latin American ambiance. Chile’s celebrations are very colorful.
Advent and Baptism of Jesus Christmas Celebration
The Christmas season begins with Advent and concludes with Baptism of Jesus. Several holy days, including the nine days of Novena are celebrated with the nativity scene at the forefront.
Sharing stories with loved ones at gatherings is a large part of the celebration. Gift exchanges take place and outdoor activities such as surfing and rock climbing as well. Tables of food are set out for the guests and they await the arrival of Viejito Pascuero, who is smaller than the traditional Claus. Viejito Pascuero travels in a sleigh, drawn by reindeer, as does Santa in the western culture.
Holy characters adorn houses and churches. Christmas trees and nativity scenes are decorate as well. Small clay figures or characters are kept under Christmas trees, which are called pesebre in Chile.
The holiday dinner is one of the highlights of the festivities. The menu reads well for this meal, as dishes made of rice and meat make up the majority of the dinner. Chicken soup, turkey, roast chicken or beef and steak with shrimp and salads are some of the entrees that appear with the rice dishes. Fruitcake Pan de Pascua is eaten after the dinner. Rompon, monkey’s tail and cola de mono are drinks complete the Christmas feast.
Misa De Gallo, or Mass of the Rooster Christmas Service
The Chilean Christmas is focused around the birth of Jesus. Church services are an integral part of the daily activities. A midnight mass, Misa De Gallo, is hosted on Christmas Eve. Misa De Gallo is translated to English, meaning Mass of the Rooster.
Christmas carols are sung, bible passages are read, and the nativity scene is the main attraction. This takes place before the traditional meal, with another afternoon mass to follow.
Christmas traditions include the spreading of love and happiness among each other. Christmas is celebrated with fun and fervor.
Father Christmas, or Viejito Pascuero, arrives with beautiful Christmas gifts for kids and wishes everyone Feliz Navidad. Nine days before the Christmas celebrations, Chileans start observing prayer, along with spiritual preparation.