Christmas is just around the corner and people are already starting to think about what delicious dishes they'll have on their table. What will be on your menu this Christmas?
Are you more into the traditional feast or do you prefer to try something different? It's interesting to see how Christmas food varies from country to country.
For example, in Colombia, they enjoy Bunuelos and Empanadas on Christmas Eve, and on Christmas Day, they savour Sancocho and Tamales instead of the classic Roast Turkey and Mashed Potatoes.
So, what else do Colombians eat on Christmas? In this blog, we’ll be exploring everything you need to know about Colombian Christmas Food, including:
- Colombian Christmas Dishes and Food
- Colombian Christmas Traditions
- What is the best way to send money to Colombia?
Colombian Christmas Dishes and Food
The main Christmas meal in Colombia is usually eaten on the evening of Christmas Eve. Below we’ve highlighted a few of the favourite Colombian Christmas dishes and food.
Lechona, also known as lechón asado, is one of the most popular Colombian Christmas dishes. It is made by roasting a pig, and then stuffing the slow-roasted pork with vegetables, herbs, spices, yellow rice and onions. Lechona translates to suckling pig and, depending on which home you go to, the Lechona is sometimes served as a whole stuffed pig on a large platter with sides of salad, potatoes and fruit.
- Ajiaco Bogotano
Ajiaco Bogotano is a traditional chicken and potato soup. It is a warm and comforting dish that is perfect for Christmas. This hearty dish is made with three different kinds of potatoes, some tasty chicken and corn. It is a colourful soup that will fill you up and make you feel nice and sleepy for the rest of the evening.
Natilla Colombiana is a great Colombian Christmas custard. It is a rich dessert that is a mainstay of any Christmas Eve meal in Colombia. Natilla is usually served alongside buñuelos.
This dish is quite similar to dulce de leches but it is thicker and flavoured with a panela. It can be served in a variety of ways such as firm and sliceable, or in a more creamier pudding form. Some will also experiment with their Natilla by including raisins, nuts and shredded fresh coconut.
Hojuela means flake in Spanish and is a traditional Colombian sweet baked-good. You are likely to find many Hojuelas in homes in Colombia during Holy Week and the Christmas Season. It is a delicious fried pastry with sugar and jam that delights Colombian kids and adults throughout Christmas time.
Buñuelos is one of those delightful pre-dinner snacks that has to appear at any Colombian Christmas Eve celebration. Buñuelos are deep-fried cheese fritters that are rolled into bite-size balls that have a crispy exterior and a soft, fluffy interior.
- Dulce de Nochebuena
Colombians have a sweet tooth and one of the best sweet Christmas dishes is a dulce de Nochebuena, a Christmas Eve dessert. This snack usually consists of a variety of fruits like papaya, figs and lime in syrup. It is the perfect way to start the Christmas Eve feast and always gets you in a Christmassy mood.
Colombian Christmas Traditions
In Colombia the Christmas holiday traditions begin on the seventh of December. Houses and streets are covered in candles, lanterns and a variety of lights, to commemorate Día de las Velitas - the Day of the little Candles.
December 7 is a significant day in Colombia and around the world as it marks the eve of Immaculate Conception, a public holiday and a Catholic celebration. It's a time for families and friends to come together, enjoy a meal, and embrace the festive atmosphere.
Many people also attend church services, join street parades, and witness dazzling fireworks displays. Children participate by crafting paper lanterns and placing them on windowsills, sidewalks, and balconies.
This day holds a special place in the Colombian calendar as it signifies the start of the Christmas season. Following this, from December 16 to Christmas Eve on December 24, Colombians across the country and beyond come together for novenas.
These Christmas Novenas, also known as Novena de Aguinaldos, are cherished gatherings where loved ones gather in someone's home to pray, sing carols, and indulge in mouthwatering Colombian cuisine.
Colombians, like many other countries, love to decorate their homes during Christmas. They hang wreaths, put up lights, candles, and baubles, and of course, set up Christmas trees.
Since around 70% of Colombians are Catholic, it's common to find nativity scenes, known as el pesebre, in many homes and buildings. In early December, children in Colombia write a special letter to Baby Jesus, called Carta al Niño Dios, asking for presents. These letters are then proudly displayed in the nativity scene.
In Colombia, Christmas Eve is the time for a grand feast. You can expect to indulge in delicious dishes like Ajiaco Bogotano, Natill, Hojuelas, and Buñuelos.
After the meal, many Colombians attend a Midnight Mass church service to conclude their festive celebrations. It's a time for religious people to come together, pray, reflect on the true meaning of Christmas, and express gratitude for all the food and joyous moments.
What is the best way to send money to Colombia?
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