Christmas Traditions in Argentina
Argentina, like many countries, is very much focused on family and your loyalty to them. Most Holidays are meant to be family oriented but in a lot of places, America included, you can spend Christmas with family or friends or a boyfriend’s and either way it’s not a big deal. In Argentina it’s different and on Christmas Eve a person’s attention is split primarily between the church and their family members. After mass, adults dance to Christmas songs, while the younger crowd amuse themselves with fireworks and food to celebrate the birth of Christ. Christmas dinner, like many places, is a big deal and in a home in Argentina it’s typical to find a table literally groaning beneath the weight of food. Especially since it’s expected for everyone to stay up until midnight eating it all.
When midnight rolls around presents are exchanged and opened after a heartfelt toast from the head of the family. A grandmother, mother or father can fill the roll. After presents, games are played and people talk as they await Father Christmas’s visit. Children put out shoes instead of stockings as they do here. When Father Christmas, the resident Santa Clause arrives he put either presents, which are usually sweets and toys, or sticks inside of the shoes depending on the Child’s behavior throughout the year. Some traditions transcend time and location and the idea of a benevolent benefactor and protector of children going around and rewarding the good deeds of the kind and punishing the bad deeds of the unkind, is a famous one. His name and mode of transportation may change but the idea and the general belief behind him remain the same.