A Cochabamban Christmas

Christmas begins with Christ. We are so grateful to live in a country that allows us to proclaim openly and unashamedly our allegiance to the Reason, the Answer, the One and Only True God, to Christ Our Lord and Our Savior.


The celebrations of the birth of Jesus are abundant and beautiful in this land. The sunshine and summery breeze makes for a new and fresh feeling surrounding these customs. Here are a few traditions that the Cochabambans observe.

  • The nativity scenes usually are missing a baby Jesus until Christmas: the day of  His birth.
  • Christmas is rung in with a large festive family meal that begins at the stroke of midnight on the Eve called Noche Buena.
  • Christmas day generous women prepare a warm, thick, cinnamon-flavored, purple-colored drink called api. It is served along with a fried, fennel-flavored, pastry ring sprinkled with powdered sugar called buñelos as a treat to the homeless or needy. This treat is given in the plazas and public places. Good will abounds.
  • Christmas trees are decorated. The ones in the homes are evergreens. Along the streets and in the parks the palm trees are also decked with lights.
  • Presents are exchanged on Christmas day, but there are more on El Día de los Reyes, January 6th. This is the day we recognize the visit of the Magi. All Christmas decorations stay up until this day.
  • Along with the Christmas celebrations the preparations for New Years Day manifest in painting homes, inside and out, making repairs and what the people in the States would describe as “Spring Cleaning”.
  • Usually Christmas day is spent out of doors at a park or even lounging by the pool. This is, of course, if the weather cooperates seeing as this is also the rainy season. Even if there is rain in the morning it is usually cleared up by the afternoon.

Palm lights

I would love to hear about some of the Christmas traditions in your corner of the world.



2 thoughts on “A Cochabamban Christmas

  1. I wish I could share some Christmas traditions in my corner of the world….but alas, they don’t celebrate it here. :( But, I’ve made my own tradition to go to the West Bank (Bethlehem) on Christmas Eve. I went last year, and I plan on going again. Its the most ‘Christmassy” thing I do here :)

  2. It’s so good to hear about these Christmas traditions in Cochabamba. I loved your description of the api drink and also the buñelos pastries, and the way these are given to those in need on Christmas day.
    Hearing about Christmas in the summer reminded me of home too :). There’s really something about being with family on Christmas day, and sitting outside in the sunshine, chatting into the evening. It’s lovely, I miss it! :)

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