When the weather gets colder and the holidays are upon us, there is something extra special about staying indoors with your family and creating festive memories together. What makes the holiday season so magical is the uniqueness of how every family chooses to celebrate and the traditions we carry on. Not only does every family put their own spin on the holidays, but cultures around the world also celebrate in a variety of extraordinary ways.
The holidays are a wonderful time to (re)introduce the beauty of diversity through the lens of festive holiday traditions around the world. It is never too early to expose our children to diverse perspectives and cultures. Reading to our children opens up a whole new world beyond their wildest dreams.
In most Latin American countries, Christmas Eve, otherwise known as Nochebuena, is the culmination of the holiday season as Latinx families prepare for the birth of Jesus at midnight on Dec. 24. Latin American families gather on Nochebuena for a jolly celebration filled with delicious cuisine, Latinx lively music and dancing, and Christmas love and joy infused throughout the day and night. Many families attend midnight mass on Nochebuena to honor the birth of baby Jesus.
In Mexican culture, we celebrate Nochebuena by spending the day and night with family and friends while often gathering around the kitchen preparing yummy tamales. We then might sing throughout the neighborhood for the annual Posadas procession—the re-enactment of Mary and Joseph looking for an inn before baby Jesus is born, which ends in the breaking of a traditional star piñata. The festivities continue well into the night, with a late dinner filled with Christmas music and festive dancing. Many Latin American countries have similar celebrations on Nochebuena with unique details on honoring the birth of baby Jesus.
As you diversify your library of holiday books, I invite you to learn about these Christmas Latin American traditions by reading some of our favorite bilingual Christmas books for different ages. The kids can read in Spanish and English, and in the process, perhaps you can add a new tradition from Latin American Christmas celebrations! Feliz Navidad!
This vibrant Latino twist on the traditional Christmas story of “The Twelve Days of Christmas” incorporates exquisitely festive Latinx images throughout the countdown to Christmas. There are, for example, piñatas instead of partridges, and it includes tamalitos (corn dough filled with meat, chicken, beans, etc. and wrapped in corn husks) and lunitas cantando (singing moons). This lyrical story follows a little girl as she receives magical gifts from a secret amiga. Discover the grand surprise of who the giver of gifts is at the very end. Added bonus included is a glossary and the phonetic pronunciation of the Spanish words throughout the twelves days of Christmas.
Join Rosita on Nochebuena (Christmas Eve) as she goes through the alphabet reading Christmas words in both English and Spanish. This A-Z Christmas journey will get your little ones learning Spanish and celebrating the many jolly Christmas traditions along the way!
You are invited to a festive Nochebuena celebration as a family hosts this special Latino Christmas tradition. Get into the holiday spirit by making tamales, singing jolly canciones (songs), and savoring delicious champurrado (hot chocolate) while you laugh and feel loved in preparation of the midnight feast honoring the birth of baby Jesus. The festivities continue as everyone enjoys a Feliz Navidad (Merry Christmas)!
Learn about this traditional Latino celebration originating in Spain and now celebrated throughout Latin America and the United States. In descriptive language in both English and Spanish, the significance of Las Posadas is explained as the nine nights before Christmas when Mary and Joseph were in search of an inn (una posada) in preparation for the birth of their son.
Every year, this biblical story is re-enacted with family, friends, and the entire neighborhood as you walk by every nearby house, sing merry tunes, and ask for a kind neighbor to give you a safe place to stay at night. Colorful adornments, piñatas, luminaries, and mouth-watering food make this a truly Feliz Navidad!
From the prolific Latina authors and owners of Lil’ Libros comes another precious bilingual board book introducing the colors to little ones in both English and Spanish. Follow The Three Wise Men as they are guided by las estrellas (the stars) to find baby Jesus and give him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
This is a festive collection of five award-winning bilingual stories chosen from the First Christmas Stories Contest for their extraordinary creative writing and uplifting holiday themes. The writers are from a variety of Latin American countries (Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Cuba, Ecuador, and Guatemala) all celebrating the magic of Navidad (Christmas).
This article was originally published at an earlier date and has been updated for timeliness.