Christmas in Argentina - Globos
Argentinians in Buenos Aires light up the sky with globos, or paper lanterns, which compete with fireworks in the night sky during Christmas in Argentina

At Christmastime especially, we celebrate our ethnicity – in big ways and small ways and especially with food and special dishes that are prepared only once a year.

Every family celebrates its history and customs and, in doing so, perpetuates the traditions of Christmas that they hold dear.

In this spirit, is delighted to begin a series of articles about how people across the world celebrate Christmas. Whether your ancestors herald from Europe, the Far East or the Caribbean, you will find some striking similarities about the traditions of Christmas – as well as some distinctive differences.

We begin our worldwide journey with Argentina, whose people are religious and devoted to family and traditions. They love good food and drink but often reserve the greatest spice for the time after midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, when they celebrate with fireworks. But rest they must, because they often mark La Navidad with an outdoor barbecue.

Few people embrace Christmas with the fervor of the Argentinians, and this is a reputation they eagerly burnish and spread to their counterparts in other Hispanic countries.

Christmas in Argentina

Many Argentinians usher in the Christmas season by making their annual pilgrimage to Lujan, a small city near the country’s capital city, Buenos Aires.

The town holds great religious significance for the people of Argentina, for it was here that a statue of the Virgin Mary was being transported in 1620 when a wagon carrying it inexplicably refused to move.

People viewed this strange event as a sign to build a chapel in Mary’s honor, and they promptly did so. To this day, millions of Argentinians pray at this basilica to mark the official start of Christmas in Argentina.

Argentinians are world-renowned for their gusto for food and drink, and they often pull out the stops on Christmas, beginning with a baked flank steak appetizer known as matambre, followed by ninos envuettas, or stuffed meat strips, and a side dish of chimichurri.

Afterward, a brand of lager called mate, which is Argentina’s national drink, often competes with dulce de leche as families watch globos, or large paper lanterns, and fireworks light up the night sky.

Copied but never duplicated, Christmas in Argentina melds a variety of Hispanic, European and American traditions that define its spirited people.  Learn more about how Argentinians celebrate Christmas.  And better yet: share the article with friends or co-workers via Twitter or Facebook. The people of Argentina will surely raise a toast to your Christmas spirit.

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