Helping friends and family make the most of the festive season in Colombia

04 Dec 2020 - Category: Blog /
Christmas 2020 in Colombia

December in Colombia is a month full of festivities, all leading up to Christmas itself. What are the different celebrations? And what are the best ways to send money to Colombia to help your loved ones have the best time possible?

Noche de las Velitas (Night of the Candles)

While it is celebrated slightly differently across the country, Noche de las Velitas — or Night of the Candles — begins on the evening of December 7th and ends at sunrise on December 8th, officially signaling the first day of the Colombian Christmas season.

On Noche de las Velitas, families and friends traditionally meet up to light coloured candles all over the city. These candles are symbolic of wishes we would like granted for ourselves and our family. The evening is a chance for people to reflect and give thanks while spending time with loved ones.

A time of year when many of our customers not able to return to Colombia for the festive season, will miss home.

Celebrations include preparing and sharing traditional food and drink, fireworks displays and a ritual of planning all the other festive meetings that happen in the lead up to Christmas, like Novenas.


Novenas literally means nine and it is celebrated every day from December 16th to December 24th, often by visiting a different friend or family member each evening. The get-togethers normally involve prayers, carols and more food and drink and are a surefire way to get into the Christmas spirit. Those sending money home will no doubt be looking for it to arrive in time for the 16th so that family can make this time of year even more special - whether they are visiting or hosting.


Like many other countries, Colombian houses are decorated with Christmas trees, with lights and red and white candles also used. Most families will display an El Pesebre (a nativity scene) and, rather than writing to Father Christmas, children write letters to Jesus asking for any gifts they would like to receive.

The main Christmas meal — Cena de Navidad — is eaten on the evening of December 24th and the dishes include: 'lechona' (pork stuffed with rice and peas); meat soup called 'Ajiaco Bogotano'; 'Buñuelos' (cheesy fritters); arepas (a thick dish made from corn); and 'hojuelas' (a fried pastry with sugar and jam). Set custard, or 'Natilla', is often for dessert. [Culture Trip]

Many people go to Midnight Mass and December 25th is normally spent relaxing and eating any leftovers.

How will Christmas 2020 be different?

With Covid-19 still affecting much of the world, Christmas this year is looking a little different. Much of the Christmas shopping that would normally be done in shops has moved online and most countries are still adhering to rules and regulations to contain the spread of the virus. Therefore, Christmas — and the month leading up to it — is looking a little uncertain, and potentially a lot less sociable than it normally would be.

With December being such a festive month in Colombia, and people unlikely to be able to celebrate as they normally would, how can you brighten it up for your loved ones?

How can you make your loved ones’ celebrations even more special? While people less able to travel, and gatherings happening virtually from afar, being able to celebrate is more important than ever. And what better way to help make December special for your friends and family than to transfer money to Colombia to help them prepare for the festivities?

Small World offers four ways to get some extra cash to your family. You can choose between:

  1. Bank deposit: Sending money directly to a bank account that could help out with basic needs or celebratory shopping lists.
  2. Airtime top-up: Transferring money to a mobile provider as airtime. This is a great option with the festive season on the horizon. Giving your family extra airtime means they can connect with family and friends locally and abroad without having to worry about their bill.
  3. Mobile wallet: Depositing money into a mobile wallet that can then be used to make digital payments, like bills, freeing up other money for celebrations. Here are 4 reasons to send money using a mobile wallet.
  4. Cash pick-up: Sending money for cash pick-up at one of over 2,587 locations across the country.

There is bound to be an option that works for you.

The best ways to send money to Colombia:

  • Cash Pick-Up
  • Bank Deposit
  • Mobile Wallet
  • Airtime

Top-up Our main partners in Colombia are: Bancolombia; Davivienda; Pagos Internacionales; BBVA; Banco de Bogota and Banco Agrario de Colombia.

And don’t forget, your first digital transaction is fee-FREE.

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