Born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in the Caribbean islands, Sofìa grew up with all its rich Christmas traditions. Former Spanish colony, Puerto Rico has a lot in common with Spain. Currently living in Málaga with her 6-month-old daughter, Isabel, the family feels lucky to have inherited this mixed heritage. They look forward to sharing all their traditions with their daughter for her very first Christmas. Let’s learn more!
Glass of Coquito, Turrón and our vintage Madeline doll that we always take out during Christmas (this was my favorite doll for years)
It is said that Puerto Rico has the longest Christmas season in the world and I believe this is true! The Holiday season begins right after Thanksgiving and hardly stops until mid January!
Even if our weather is warm and tropical meaning we never have snow, we like to recreate a cold wonderland! There are Christmas trees and winter decorations everywhere! We even have snow machines releasing soap and water to look like snow! Isabel loved it!
Christmas carols are also a big thing during the festive season! In Puerto Rico, they are called "parrandas" and in Spain they are named "villancicos de navidad". The idea is to gather all together at night with lots of instruments and sing our classic Christmas songs! We will creep in silently to our neighbors’ or friend’s homes and surprise them by dancing and singing!
As for Christmas treats, Turrón,(in English called nougat), is one of the best. Traditionally, we eat it after Christmas Eve dinner with anise liquor but it can be served all throughout December. There are many varieties and flavors of turrón, ranging from chocolate, rum with raisins, yogurt but the most traditional flavor is prepared with honey, sugar, egg whites and toasted almonds. Our family’s favorite is the classic almond flavor, but we always offer our guests different kinds to suit everyone’s tastes.
On Christmas morning we open presents that Santa Claus left under the tree. In this sense, we have been influenced by the United States too. But the party does end there! We keep our tree up much longer!
On Three Kings’ Day, we have a very special tradition directly from Spain. We celebrate it on the 6th of January in honor of the three Kings that went to visit Jesus when he was born. That morning, everyone in the family receives gifts that the Three Kings brought during the night. The children leave water and grass for the camels in a box prepared and decorated the day before. We also put coquito, a Puerto Rican eggnog made with coconut milk, condensed milk and rum for the Kings. This is one of my favorite traditions because it encourages creativity. It is fun for kids to decorate the boxes for the grass with messages and drawings.
After this celebration comes yet another one called “Las octavitas”! It lasts eight days. We typically throw parties and sing a lot! To end the festive season, we have a musical jubilee with lots of colors and fun decorations. It is called las Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastián or la SanSe.
Follow Sofìa on Instagram : @sofisouf