With 90% of the population being Catholic, Christmas is one of the most important holidays for the country.
Families get together, go to mass and pray “novenas” to celebrate “Jesus’ Birthday.” Even though this season has been changing with time, Ecuador still maintains its own traditions, especially if you go to small towns in the Andean area.
Today, Christmas festivities begin earlier in the month with Novenas (Novena is the feminine form of the Medieval Latin word, novenus, “ninth,” which is the ordinal number from novem, nine. In the Catholic Church, a novena is a devotion consisting of prayer said (most typically) on nine successive days, asking to obtain special graces.) as well as masses and events recalling the journey of Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem.
“El Pase del Niño Viajero” (The Travel Kid’s Parade) is definitely something special during this holidays in Ecuador. This parade illustrates the journey of Joseph and Mary. They are led by the guiding star, and accompanied by angels, the Three Kings, officials, shepherds and huge numbers of costumed children
The origins of this religious festival was in the early 1960’s when a statue of the Christ Child was taken to Rome to be blessed by the Pope. When the statue returned, someone in the watching crowd called out, “Ya llegó el Viajero!” (Here comes the Traveler!) and the statue became known as the Niño Viajero (Traveler Kid).
Here is a video in Spanish. I couldn’t find one in English. Just take a look at it, you will find it very curious and fun.
Here are some pictures that you may like to check out.
However Christmas has become a lot more of a commercial holiday too. People in the US get stressed out trying to find the right present for the people that they care about. Prices increase and shops get thousands of people cleaning up the shelves.
My family in particular gets together at my grandma’s house on Christmas Eve (Dec-24th), we exchange presents that day and we have Christmas Dinner (usually it consists of Turkey, Ham, Mashed Potatoes, Salads, Rice with Raisins and lots of Christmas Bread). On Christmas Day we get together again, to see what presents we got from our parents and have Christmas Lunch, that is usually the leftovers from dinner. I think that having all the family together is really the most important gift for Christmas.
For this Christmas: Eat a lot! Laugh out Loud! Tell the people that you love that you love them and Enjoy! Don’t Stop enjoying!
Feliz Navidad and Feliz Ano Nuevo