This week Cafe Con Leche's Creative Planning Strategist, Marissa Rayes, explores different Latin American holiday traditions. Tell us about your holiday traditions by Tweeting us at @Latinoburgh.

Here in the United States there are many different types of traditions that families participate in during the holiday season. From Elf on the Shelf and leaving cookies out for Santa to throwing away that Fruit Cake your great aunt brought. Latin American countries have these traditions plus a bundle of more. This is the perfect time of year to discuss those traditions while you are getting ready for yours!

In Latin American cultures, the majority of Latinos celebrate Christmas on December 24th, La Noche Buena. This is the largest feast during the holiday season featuring lechón (roast pork) as the main dish. In Mexico, dinner could include atole, romeritios en revoltijo (made with Mexican greens), tamales and much more. Other countries also have rice, beans, and different types of salads. A traditional part of the feast across the board is Coquito (alcohol beverage made from coconut milk, condensed milk, and white rum. For Cafe Con Leche's recipe, click here). Next there is the tradition of decorar con pascuas (to decorate with Poinsettia flowers). Families will use natural or artificial poinsettias to add to the holiday spirit.

In Argentina and Uruguay some families plan a barbecue/ picnic with their loved ones to take advantage of the nice weather (sure wish we could do that here in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania). In Chile, they believe in Santa Claus, but instead of coming down the chimney he comes climbing through the window. In El Salvador it is almost mandatory that you bring fireworks with you on Christmas Eve. It is a holiday tradition to have fireworks at midnight. Puerto Rico has the longest Christmas season as it starts on Noche Buena and ends on Dia de Los Reyes on January 6th.

As we come together with our families this holiday season celebrating our own traditions we should take a minute to remember these types of traditions in different places in the world. If you want to really “Wow!” your family this holiday season, light a firework or two at midnight? Instead of the ham this year try to make lechón! No matter how you choose to celebrate this season I think we can all agree we have one lasting tradition we all share; spending time with those we care about the most.

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