Here comes Noche Buena to Antigua Guatemala

Rudy Giron: Antigua Guatemala &emdash; Christmas lights at Parque Central in Antigua Guatemala

Here’s your illustrated Spanish words of the day: Noche Buena, literal good night, for Christmas Eve.

Noche Buena is such an important celebration in Guatemala, the equivalent of Thanksgiving for people in the U.S.; in other words, a family feast with plenty of food and hugs and kisses. The Noche Buena feast starts around 6pm and it might go all night long. At midnight, people exchange embraces with other family members, friends and neighbours. Depending on the family, some might have dinner at 10pm or after midnight. The food is almost always tamales colorados or negros or both, but this might vary by family as well. Some families prefer turkey or stuffed pork loin. For beverages, the comfort drink is ponche de frutas, fruit punch, but you can also have hot chocolate, coffee or sparkling wine. Some people go to mass service at their nearest temple. The majority of people will be burning firecrackers and fireworks. There will be lots of music blasting out of speakers either at homes, bars or streets.

I would venture to say that Guatemalans celebrate much more during Christmas Eve than the actual Christmas day.

If you have experience Noche Buena in Guatemala, what are your thoughts, what am I leaving out?

I wish you all a joyful Noche Buena and Navidad!

Rudy Giron: Guatemalan tamales &emdash;

Rudy Giron: Guatemalan ponche &emdash;

© 2016, Rudy Giron. All rights reserved.

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