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Party’s not over when Christmas ends

Hispanics celebrate Christmas by throwing parties, eating rosca, celebrating Three Kings Day, and praying together.

Photo by Mayeli Vivaldo

Photo by Mayeli Vivaldo

Hispanics celebrate Christmas by throwing parties, eating rosca, celebrating Three Kings Day, and praying together.

By Mayeli Vivaldo, Perspectives Editor

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The birth of Jesus Christ is celebrated in several different ways, but for most Hispanic families like my own, the celebrations consist of nearly two weeks of reenactments, feasts, festivals, singing, and fun.

Starting on Dec. 16, groups gather together to take part in “posadas.” These are reenactments of the story of Mary and Joseph and their struggle to find a home where Mary could safely deliver Jesus Christ.

These reenactments last for a week and are fun to take part in. My sister always talks about how it was her favorite thing to do in Mexico.

Then, on Dec. 24-25, families and friends gather during the evening to celebrate the birth of Jesus. They pray together in honor of Jesus’ birth throughout the evening up until midnight.

Midnight marks the birth of Jesus and so, a huge feast is set and the families eat and celebrate as late as they can. This is my favorite part. Candy is handed out as well as delicious drinks and food. It’s amazing. I probably gain 10 pounds every year because of this, but it’s definitely worth it. What I love most about this part, besides the food, is the energy. Everyone is so joyful and excited and I think it’s a beautiful way to celebrate. It’s not about giving or receiving, it’s about enjoying the day.

Although for most American families, Dec. 25 marks the end of Christmas, the party continues for another week.

In the Bible, the story states that when Jesus Christ was born, a star shined bright in the sky. Three kings saw the star and followed it. They knew the star shined due to the birth of the Messiah and so, brought Jesus very special gifts.

This story is celebrated on Jan. 5 through Jan. 6. Families gather once again, but this time, the main focus is the “rosca” and gifts. The rosca is an oval-like, sweet bread with dried fruit or gummies on it. The rosca and its shape represent the crown of the kings and the infinite love Jesus has for his followers. The dried fruit or gummies represent the jewels on the crown. But, the thing that makes this bread special, besides its meaning, is that it contains little, plastic baby figurines, which represent baby Jesus, inside the actual bread.

The reason why there are plastic figurines inside the bread is because, in the Bible, it also states that there was one king, besides the three that gave Jesus gifts, who wanted to get rid of Jesus because he saw him as a threat. So, the townspeople and anyone who believed in Jesus helped hide him and save him.

It’s a bit weird for anyone who has never heard of this tradition and to be honest, it is a bit strange when you bite into the slice of bread you receive and accidently bite baby Jesus. But the tradition is honestly fun and special.

Slices of the bread are handed out and anyone who is lucky enough to get a figurine is given the responsibility of cooking something for the follow-up party in February.

It’s extremely hilarious to watch people stress and laugh as the slices are handed out. Suspension builds when each person bites into their bread. Everyone looks at each other and asks “who got a baby?” Many actually try to hide it under their tongue or pretend they didn’t get a baby, but in the end, anyone who did reveals themselves.

After the suspenseful bread biting, children gather around the altar that is set up for Jesus and place their shoes near it. Instead of stockings, we use shoes. Many different reasons exist for this, but for my family, it symbolizes the long journey the three kings took to see Jesus Christ.

Once every child has done that, everyone goes to sleep. The next morning, everyone eagerly runs to the altar to open the gifts the three kings left for them.

I loved this as a kid. I remember how excited I would be. I would practically rip my presents open and fight with my cousins over which present was whose.

The whole tradition is beautiful. It encompasses the excitement and joy people should feel about the birth of Jesus Christ.

Nobody is worried about school or work, everyone truly focuses on the birth of Jesus.

Never, throughout those two weeks, is there a moment where I am not truly enjoying everything around me. I love the gathering of my friends and family. I love the food and I love the traditions.  

I am grateful that I am able to take part in this wonderful celebration every year and encourage anyone who has the chance to take part in these events to do so for it is a beautiful and valuable experience.

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The student news site of West Chicago Community High School
Party’s not over when Christmas ends