There is one family tradition that I cherish and try to keep alive with my little ones. It is called “El Dia de las Velitas” Translated it is very straight forward: the day of the Little candles , really it is the day of the luminaries.
|photo courtesy of our friends at Ahorrando Dolares www.ahorrandolares.com|
It started off as a religious holiday honoring the Virgin Mary, but as time has passed, and governments have increasingly separated themselves from the church in Latin America, it is more of a fantastic get-together. Of course, many still observe the religious aspect of the day.
Normally, everyhousehold lights up candles at dusk on balconies, porches and backyards. Candles are left alone until they go out on their own. Paper lanterns are also used which give an additional feel dimension to the celebrations. Kids really enjoy this part. Many times the smaller ones blow out the candles several times as if celebrating someone’s birthday.
For a few years, this goes off with a boom and really kicks off the holiday season down South of the border. Friends and family are invited over to help light the candles, but it this is accompanied by a fabulous offering of food and snacks typical to the season such as natilla or bunuelos. A great excuse to take a moment from our busy lives and the hectic rush of this time of year.
Sometimes, fireworks are involved. But, my favorite of all the details of the gathering are the “globos” or giant luminaries. Unfortunately, these are forbidden in the US for security reason, you will see why.
The globos are giant paper lanterns that have a “mecha” or fuse at the bottom. The fuse is usually a wire crossing that holds a piece of rag that has been soaked in some type of burning element such as alcohol. Once lit, the flame then fill the lantern with heat that along with other scientific explanations, makes the lantern rise and float on its own. Think of a balloon full of Helium. The globos are sent off with Christmas wishes and happiness for all.
When the lantern takes off, cheers, hurray’s and applauses are in order. The moment truly marks a triumph and lifts up further everyone’s spirits.
With everyone doing the same in the city, the night sky is filled with these lanterns that take the place of stars (which because of city lights we don’t see any more)
Now you understand why I can’t do this in the USA, but we do continue with all the other components of the celebration, and now watch how globos take our in our cities via Facetime
Only the most experienced take to this globo task. It is a dangerous one, as fire can catch quickly. So, we do not recommend trying this at home, but we did want to share with you our memories, and traditions
What tradition are you keeping for the holiday season?
This is a sponsored post as a Britax Latina Advisory Board Member and Blogger. As always, all opinions, ideas, and stories stated here are clearly my own