Christmas in Galapagos

Merry Christmas!  – ¡Feliz Navidad!

It’s the final countdown until Christmas – less than one week to go! Why not take a minute between Christmas shopping and parties to learn about Christmas traditions in Galapagos?

In Ecuador and Galapagos, like in the UK, Christmas, or Navidad, is probably the most celebrated holiday of the year. The season usually starts in early November, when families and businesses start bringing out their Christmas trees and Nativity sets.

December in Galapagos is during the warm season with the temperature averaging around 27 °C. The water is refreshing and it doesn’t rain much – different to the idea of Christmas that is common in the UK – not a snowman or woolly jumper in sight.  Here are some of the celebrations and traditions that occur:

Novena

Ecuador is a predominantly Catholic country and Novena is a tradition that prepares for the birth of Christ. During Novena, families and friends gather together for nine days to pray, read Bible verses, and sing villancicos (carols) around the pesebre (manger). Novena starts on 15 December and ends on Christmas Eve.

Pase del Nino

The ‘Festival of the Traveling Infant Child’ or Pase del Nino Viajero is an all-day parade that takes place on 24 December and re-enacts the Nativity, including the journey of Joseph and Mary and the birth of Jesus.

Misa de Gallo

On Christmas Eve, many families attend a traditional mass where the birth of Jesus is celebrated, usually at midnight. They often bring their ceramic figurines of the baby Jesus from their pesebre so the priest can bless them.

Nochebuena

On Christmas Eve, families get together and enjoy the cena de nochebuena which is a big family dinner. The exchange of presents is usually at midnight when “El Niño Jesus” or “Papa Noel” (Santa) have brought the gifts. The Ecuadorian tradition is to leave the house with the children searching for the star of Bethlehem, the one that revealed the birth of Jesus. Meanwhile, someone stays indoors and arranges the presents under the Christmas tree. The cena de nochebuena traditionally includes turkey or ham along with many rice and salad side dishes Dishes could include:

On Christmas Eve, families get together and enjoy the cena de nochebuena which is a big family dinner. The exchange of presents is usually at midnight when “El Niño Jesus” or “Papa Noel” (Santa) have brought the gifts. The Ecuadorian tradition is to leave the house with the children searching for the star of Bethlehem, the one that revealed the birth of Jesus. Meanwhile, someone stays indoors and arranges the presents under the Christmas tree. The cena de nochebuena traditionally includes turkey or ham along with many rice and salad side dishes Dishes could include:

Arroz navideño: Christmas rice – a yellow rice mix with small slices of ham, almonds, raisins and green olives.

Relleno de pavo: a mix of meats, fresh and dry fruits, nuts and wine.

Pavo horneado: Roast turkey is a must have for Christmas dinner in Ecuador

Hornado de chancho: Ecuadorian speciality of roasted pork leg marinated with garlic and beer.

Pernil lojano: Pernil is a roasted pork loin dish where the pork is marinated in a sauce of bitter orange juice, onion, garlic, artichoke, cloves, cinnamon, cumin and panela (whole cane sugar), and slow roasted in the oven for several hours.

Canelazo and Naranjillazo: Canelazo is warm, spiced cinnamon cocktail made with cinnamon, water, sugar and aguardiente (schnapps). At Christmas, it is often served as a variation called Naranjillazo which uses a local fruit.

Ronpope: an eggnog-like drink usually served at the cena de nochebuena.

Tronco navideño: a chocolate cake popular at this time of year similar to a yule log.

Pristiños: a traditional Christmas dessert. These fried pastries are served with panela.

Christmas Day

25 December is a day to relax, attend church or small family gatherings.

 

Why not mix it up and try something Ecuadorian this Christmas?!

Merry Christmas from the GCT Team!