Latin American flavor pervades the Christmas traditions of Chile which period arrives in summer with the children freed from their studies, and thus have enough time to enjoy the warm season and the company of the family. The Chilean homes have been lived upon by several generations, and when Christmastime comes, the grandchildren and great grandchildren come for family reunions with their relatives. Memories abound the house with the joys of Xmas and stories handed down from parent to children. The decorations carry with them remembrance of joyful Christmas experiences. Thus, the Christmas traditions of Chile fill the very air with religious thanksgiving and love.
The decorations of the Christmas traditions of Chile include nativity scenes, Xmas trees and figures representing the Holy Family and other religious characters. The midnight mass on Xmas Eve is where most of the people and families go. Afterwards, the families celebrate Holiday Dinner together. The food can come of different meats, rice, Xmas pudding and others, including the special dessert fruit cake called Pan de Pascua. The favorite drinks are rompon and cola de mono or monkey’s tail. The gifts are unwrapped afterwards. The adults stay up till the wee hours of the morning.
Another important character of the Christmas traditions of Chile is Viejito Pascuero or Old Man Christmas who is a smaller sized Santa Claus, supposedly because the chimneys in Chile are smaller. This gift-giver also rides a reindeer driven sleigh.
The Christmas traditions of Chile are always a religious affair and Jesus Christ is always at the center of the celebrations. The church services are part of the daily activities during the season, especially the nine-day novena prior to the Holiday. Carols are sung while bible passages related to the nativity are also read throughout the period. Christmas Day is also a day to enjoy nature and sports. The people come to the beaches, go on rock-climbing or surfing, and most people simply enjoy the sight of these holiday spots.