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Christmas Article 11 (DOC)


									11. Christmas in Central and South American Nations
      In Central and South American nations, which have a fairly large
population, the Nativity or Manger Scene is the main decoration in homes
Christmas time. In Mexico, a Christmas tree may also be set up in some
along with the Nativity scene or Nacimiento. The Christmas tree is
usually a
small artificial tree, called arbolito. It can also be as simple as a
branch cut
from a special type of tree or a type of shrub that is then minimally
The primary Christmas celebration in Mexico is called La Posada. It is a
religious procession that dramatizes how Joseph and Mary tried to find a
where Jesus could be born. During the procession, the participants carry
of Mary and Joseph and go from house to house seeking a place to stay.
Midnight Mass, which is called la misa del gallo or 'rooster's mass,'
those in
attendance sing lullabies to Jesus. On Christmas Day children receive
gifts as
well as candies that are stuffed into a piñata. This may be one or more
sculptures made of papier mache that are hung from the ceiling. Children
blindfolded and take turns hitting the piñata until it breaks and
scatters the
candies on the floor. All the children then scamper around as they try to
get as
much candy as they can. Children also receive a gift on Jan. 6 from the
Wise Men, if they were good.
      People in Venezuela usually put out pesebres, which show the
scene, on Dec. 16. Early morning church services, called Misa de
Aguinaldo, are
also common from Dec. 16 to Christmas Eve. After Mass on Christmas Eve, a
dinner is traditionally enjoyed.
In Argentina, red and white garlands are used to decorate houses. After
attending Midnight Mass, Argentinians have a meal, toast each other,
dance and
go out to see fireworks. The meal may be roasted pork or turkey, stuffed
tomatoes, mince pies, Christmas bread and puddings. Drinks such as cider
juice made from different fruits are used for the toast. Christmas gifts
opened on Christmas Eve just before the family retires to bed.
      In Chile, Santa Claus is Father Christmas and is known as 'Viejito
Pascuero.' He arrives in a similar but slightly different manner than
Claus because his reindeer is pulled by a taxicab. Chileans use small
made from clay to place near the Christmas tree in a display called
pesebre to
show the Nativity story. The traditional Christmas dinner includes
chicken soup
with stuffed potatoes, onions and corn on the cob. Another favorite item
is a
Christmas bread that is called pan de pasqua and which is made with
candies and
Christmas customs in Brazil originate from the many different ethnic
groups who
make up the country. The Nativity scene is called the Presepio and can
be found displayed in homes, churches and stores. Papai Noel, or Father
resides in Greenland and brings gifts at Christmas. He is said to wear
clothing because Christmas occurs during summer when it is very hot in
Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve is called Missa do Gallo, because the
coming day
is announced by the rooster and the Mass finishes at 1 am on the
following day.
A traditional Christmas dinner, called Ceia de Natal, includes ham,
colored rice, a variety of vegetables and fruit dishes. Christmas Day
Mass at
Catholic churches are mainly held in the late afternoon because people
sleeping late or going to the beach after having Christmas dinner.
festivities, which include folk dancing and singing, continue until
January 6th,
which is called Three Kings Day.

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