Sharing The Christmas Experience In Another Country
Posted 01/20/2023 02:58PM

Sharing The Christmas Experience In Another Country

by: Brayan Tenesaca

Christmas Day is celebrated in the same way worldwide, right? In some ways yes. Most families worldwide celebrate Christmas on the 25th, but celebrations vary and the majority of traditions are passed down from each generation, in this case going back thousands of years.

Over winter break, I had the opportunity to experience Christmas in another country for the first time. Although my expectations weren't high, and I didn't think I would experience any lifetime memories, I was soon proven very wrong. As early as the 18th of December, neighborhoods all over Ecuador started to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Preparations for these celebrations start weeks earlier to include the hundreds to thousands of people within each neighborhood. Since the majority of the participants in the parade are kids, the details, formation, and preparation is done during school.

Although kids are dressed up, it's not Halloween; quite the opposite actually. Instead of random outfits, everyone is specifically dressed to represent an aspect of Christmas. Some outfits include the 3 kings, mother Mary, Joseph, Stanta, angles, and saints. Once everyone has an outfit, they follow a car throughout the town's streets until they reach the local church for mass. After mass, the parade continues and everyone walks back to where the parade started, for meals offered by the school to all the public. In this case the parade walked back to the school but some parades can arrive to people's houses too.

During the parade, a few kids are selected to hand out candy, sweets, and goody bags. As the parade passes through town, the kids throw the candy at the spectators and houses they pass. The goody bags tend to be handed to people but at times the kids would throw the bag in the air as friendly competition among the spectators. On the other hand, every time the parade stopped loud fireworks were fired into the air which took most people by surprise.

Parades varied from size, but all of them kept the same intentions in mind which is to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Even after Christmas day, these parades continue to happen daily until the first week of January. This new and heartwarming experience opened my eyes to how a culture's values and traditions are everlasting, passed down from generations, and shared among the country. The memories of Christmas in another country will always remind me how rich different cultures are and I look forward to my next Christmas in another country.

Here's my video to show you what I saw in Ecuador:

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