Christmas customs are different in each country and, therefore, Argentina has its own. In this article, we offer you information about the celebrations, typical dishes and rites that Argentines carry out on these dates, which may be curious for other cultures.

Below you have an index with all the points that we are going to deal with in this article.

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Christmas traditions in Argentina: typical food and customs

The date of Christmas in Argentina is the same as in the rest of the world: December 25. However, being in the Southern Hemisphere, here they receive this party with sun and heat: it is summer.




This celebration means for Argentines the birth of Jesus, so it is common that in the previous days they go to Church or participate in the well-known Misa del Gallo, which is celebrated on Christmas Eve.

Despite the snow and cold weather, most people celebrate this day at home and with their family. For this, on December 24 they organize a great dinner. Thanks to the weather, this can be done in the garden.

At midnight, it is Papai Noel the one in charge of bringing the gifts to the children. After this, the young people usually go out with friends, while the older ones go for a walk.

In big cities like Buenos Aires, Córdoba and Rosario, it is a tradition that fireworks and even lighted balloons are thrown. In these places, there is an important activity these days, so they are a good option to spend Christmas.

The next day, relatives meet again to eat, or visit other loved ones. They can also take the opportunity to go to the beach, since these days Argentines have started their summer vacations.

Despite being a festive season, some supermarkets and stores such as Carrefour or Falabella remain open. However, other businesses such as banks are closed on Christmas Day.

New Year

Argentines also receive the New Year in style. On the night before, New Year's Eve, family or friends serve a copious dinner. Each guest usually brings a different plate.

At midnight, they toast with cider or champagne. Fireworks are fired and the festivities begin in various parts of the country such as Córdoba or the City of Salta.

There are some curious rituals. In the City of La Plata, it is typical to make a straw or sawdust doll, called «Old year«, Which is burning tonight. This celebration is growing year after year, which is why impressive bonfires are held, like the one in the following video.

Another superstition is to wear underwear or panties of a certain color. Traditionally, women gave each other a pink one to attract good luck, but today red is popular too.

If you are going on vacation to Argentina and want to know which are the best places to spend this party, it is best to go to the the, for example to Las Toninas, where you can celebrate it on the beach.

In addition to the Western New Year, Argentina celebrates that of other cultures. One of them is the Creole, which is celebrated by the original or aboriginal peoples on June 21, the day of the winter solstice, when a new natural cycle begins.

Another is the Chinese New Year, which is at the end of January. In the Chinatown of Buenos Aires there is an outstanding party. As for the change of the Japanese year, it also coincides with January 1, and the Jewish is the seventh month of the calendar hebreo.

Meals and dinners

The Argentine Christmas and New Year menus are authentic banquets. Being in summer, cold dishes and hors d'oeuvres predominate, although we find a great variety.

A traditional dish is roast. It is made with grilled beef, although it can also be chicken. Nor can the Vitel Tone, a beef filet accompanied with tuna sauce, hard-boiled egg, anchovy and cream.

Another typical recipe is the rolled matambre, which is made with a piece of beef to which cooked egg and pepper are rolled, as well as other ingredients such as parsley, garlic, etc.




To give a fresh touch, these dishes are usually accompanied with salads of different types: potato and egg, Russian, vegetable, etc. Nuts are also removed.

For dessert, fruit salads, nougat, pudding, and ice cream are common. Likewise, it is essential to sweet bread, a bun made with flour, milk and yeast dough, and garnished with raisins and candied fruits. As for drinks, cider, champagne, wine and spirits predominate.

Lottery

Since 1893, the Extraordinary Christmas Draw has been held in this country, or as it is popularly known «Fat Christmas«. It is a deeply rooted tradition, most of the people participate in it.

The draw is held on a date close to Christmas, which varies from year to year, normally between December 22 and 28. Before this day, the participants buy the numbers.

These tickets, known as "bills," cost 150 pesos, and each is a five-digit number. You can also buy the whole number for 750 pesos.

There are around twenty main prizes, although there are also special rewards for some endings or numbers. The first prize is around 15 million pesos.

Christmas tree

In Argentine houses they begin to prepare the tree on December 8, the Day of the Immaculate Conception. It is decorated with colored lights and other ornaments.

The first Christmas tree that was set up in Argentina was in 1807, when an Irishman wanted to remember the customs of his country by decorating the pine tree in a public square.

At present, we can find one in each house, since it is under him where Santa Claus leaves the gifts. Likewise, it is also common to see them in the main squares of cities. In 2011, an unprecedented event happened: the Buenos Aires Christmas tree was Burned after a demonstration.

In addition to the tree, the houses are filled with red and white decorations, the children take the opportunity to make crafts and the received Christmas cards are displayed. Also, a red sock is hung on the door.

In some northern regions, such as Jujuy or La Rioja, they have their own traditions, such as setting up a manger, which can be static (made of figures) or dynamic (made up of real people and animals). In many houses they leave the door open so that you can enter to admire it, and they even invite you to an aperitif.

Not only are houses decorated, but also businesses show off their ingenuity to decorate their shop windows or stained glass windows in the most original way. There are even contests held.

Dances and Christmas carols

Although the dances are not very typical in the rest of Argentina, in the north they are. Here the ribbon dance or braided. Around a stick, the children dance and spin. Each one wears a different colored ribbon.

This dance is performed in front of the mangers or nativity scenes that are placed in the streets. It is a kind of allegory to spring and the fruits that it gives us, which are represented by the colorful braiding.

Christmas songs of Spanish origin, that is, carols, also arrived in Argentina and have remained as a tradition more of the country, yes, adding its special touch.

They are usually sung accompanied by small percussion instruments such as the tambourine, the tambourine or the bells. Among the most popular is The huachi torito, How cute is the little boy y In Bethlehem it ends.

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