The term is used to refer to countries in the Americas that speak a Latin-based language. Spanish is the most popular Romance language in these countries. Other Latin-based languages spoken in the Americas are Portuguese and French. The cultures of all the countries in the region including Costa Rica, Mexico, Puerto Rico, El Salvador, and the Dominican Republic share a lot of similarities. Although the cultures of Central American, South American, and Caribbean countries are not the same, there are still a lot of similarities. As a result, many holidays are celebrated in all Latin American countries. The traditions and customs in these countries are also the same.
10 Holiday Traditions of Latin America:
If you want to truly experience a culture then you must learn about its traditions. Every culture has its own customs that its people continue to follow even when they move away from their homeland. The customs and traditions we follow are some of the most important parts of our identities. If you want to celebrate a Latin America holiday, learning about traditions is the best way to go about it.
Here are 10 holiday traditions in the Spanish and Portuguese speaking countries:
1. Columbus Day:
Columbus Day is a national holiday in the Americas named after Christopher Columbus. On October 12 every year, the anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ arrival in the Americas is celebrated. However, the holiday is only known as Columbus Day in the United States. In Spanish speaking countries, it is celebrated as Día de la Raza. Spain celebrates Columbus day as national day or Fiesta Nacional. The day is celebrated as Fiesta Nacional because Christopher Columbus’s arrival in the Americas also paved the way for the Spaniards.
2. Las Posadas:
Las Posadas is an extended devotional prayer. It is celebrated by the Hispanics in Mexico, Chile, Guatemala, Cuba, and the United States. The festival lasts for nine days from December 16th to December 24th to represent the nine months pregnancy of Mary.
3. Simon Bolivar Day:
The South American countries of Venezuela and Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia got independence because of the rebellion against the Spanish led by Simon Bolivar. To honor him, Simon Bolivar Day is celebrated annually on his birthday, July 24.
4. Nativity Scenes:
Nativity scenes are a huge part of the Christmas decorations throughout Latin American countries. They are handcrafted and the scenes in each country reflect the local culture. The scenes stay up throughout the holiday season.
5. Día de Los Muertos:
Whether you live in one of the Spanish speaking countries or not, you would have heard of El Día de Muertos. Also known as the Day of the Dead, Día de Los Muertos is primarily celebrated in Mexico. It is also popular in some other parts of Central America. The holiday is a way for people to remember their friends and family members who have died.
6. El Día de los Reyes Magos:
El Dia de los Reyes Magos is also known as Three Kings’ Day, Little Christmas, and Epiphany. El Dia de los Reyes Magos is a day in South and Central American when children receive gifts. It is celebrated on 6th January instead of Christmas Day. Children leave their shoes outside to receive gifts in them from the Three Kings.
7. Feast of Nuestra Sra. de Altagracia:
The feast of Nuestra Sra. de Altagracia, also known as the day of the Virgen de Altagracia is celebrated primarily in the Dominican Republic. The feast day is celebrated on January 21st. Every year on the feast of Nuestra, the people of the Dominican Republic travel to the cathedral in Higuey to worship. They also ask for health and miraculous protection from every negative thing.
8. Fiestas Patronales de San Salvador:
Also known as las fiestas agostinas, fiestas patronales de San Salvador is celebrated in El Salvador from August 1st to August 6th. The week long celebrations honor Divino Salvador del Mundo, the patron saint of El Salvador. The patron saint represent the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
9. La Semana Santa:
This holy week is celebrated in all the Spanish speaking countries. It is celebrated in the week leading up to Easter. The week is filled with various activities including prayers, masses, and solemn processions. In Mexico, there are also some fun activities that have become a part of the holy week celebrations. They create their own version of easter eggs in which the eggs are full of confetti and are cracked over someone’s head as a prank.
10. Cinco de Mayo:
It is a holiday celebrated only in Mexico but it has become popular in the media. Contrary to popular belief, Cinco de Mayo is not Mexican Independence Day. Cinco de Mayo is celebrated on May 5th to commemorate the victory of Mexican forces over the French army in the Battle of Puebla. Since the battle was fought and won in the city of Puebla, Cinco de Mayo is celebrated there with parades and reenactments. Although it is not an American holiday, it is celebrated by Mexican immigrants in different parts of the US including New York and Washington.
Whether it is Columbus Day, the Emancipation Day of Puerto Rico, or just the holiday season, Spanish speaking countries love going all out for celebrations. Everyone from children to adults actively takes part in celebrating the holiday season. They prefer to add their own cultural mix to holidays. This is why the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Americas is celebrated as Dia de la Raza in these countries.
Everyone is valued greatly in every South and Central American country. Children’s Day is celebrated each year to allow kids to play without having to worry about school. Children’s Day is also the most popular e-commerce holiday in the region. All major holidays are celebrated by Hispanics everywhere in the world.