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Holy Week

In Guatemala, Holy Week is more than a religious holiday. There are many traditions according to the area and family to which you belong. One of those beautiful traditions is Holy Saturday. On that day, the family reunion is important. Kids haven’t seen grandparents for months or even years, and this holiday helps families get together. The smell of flowers and fruits is unique. We have the breakfast meal as Jesus had it the week before Palm Sunday. After breakfast, the mother and grandmother make a delicious dessert beverage that contains peaches, honey, cinnamon, papayas, plantains, green mangos, and pineapple.


Christmas is my favorite holiday because we spend a wonderful time together during the whole preparation. Everything starts in October when we discuss if the dinner will be tamales, glazed ham, or turkey. Throughout the next weeks, we call all the cousins and relatives who live out of state and our closest friends, to check if they are coming. When the guest list is done, we have to decide between our house, which is small and new, or my grandmother’s house, which is big and comfortable, to celebrate the holiday.


In my country of Bolivia, we have a tradition of taking a siesta after eating lunch, which means taking a nap for an hour or two. My mother would nap before going back to work, and my sisters and I before doing homework. I preferably chose the sofa as it was very comfortable. Taking a nap always helped us to feel better and regain motivation and energy. In fact, when my sister Sahsha didn’t have her nap, she would become very grumpy, and I was always too sleepy to do anything.


Every year my family and I used to spend time together in my country in December. My aunts, my mother, and my grandmother made a special Christmas food called hallacas. They are like big tamales, but with a lot of meat inside and made with much love. We danced and sang a traditional kind of music called Gaitas. The Venezuelan Gaita is traditional music, but I liked it because the words were really beautiful, about how Christmas was before and everything about families.


My favorite tradition is Christmas. Christmas means being together with my family, and I feel closer to God during these days. Every year we gather and celebrate at my parents’ house. We spend the day cooking our traditional food like pozole, tamales, buñuelos, atole, and ponches. We usually have dinner at 9:00 pm. Before dinner, we pray and thank God for this amazing day and for all the blessings that he has given us. After dinner, we talk a lot about our lives, jobs, and family.

Eid Nowruz

In my country every year on March 21st, we have a big spring celebration day. We call it Eid Nowruz. This is a holiday for us. It is originally a traditional Kurdish day, but all Iraqis celebrate it. On this day, all the people are happy and excited for spring. All the people go out and take their favorite food and fruit and some blankets, chairs, and toys to start the celebration. My family always went to a huge green park where there were many big trees. We used to choose one tree and put our blanket underneath it to sit on.

Christmas Eve

On Christmas Eve, my whole family spends the evening together. Before we eat, we take some traditional pictures. We always do this in the same order. The first ones to take these pictures are my aunt and her children, and my grandparents, and then my uncle, aunt, and their daughters. My parents, grandparents and I are the next ones to take pictures. And the very last picture is with all my cousins, my grandparents and me.  After taking these pictures, we pray, and we give thanks for one more year. While we are playing around, having dinner, or talking, my grandfather always plays Catholic Christmas music, but sometimes he allows us to play other kinds of Christmas songs.

Novena de Aguinaldos

In our family Novena de Aguinaldos, or “Ninth to Baby Jesus,” is the best part of the year to be together. It is a tradition in Colombia, and each family experiences this holiday with a lot of happiness. This is a celebration about the nine months of the pregnancy of the Virgin Mary. We pray for nine days from December 16th to December 24th, in honor of the Virgin Mary, Saint Joseph, and the Baby Jesus. In the days before December 16th, we meet as a family and build the nativity and make musical instruments by hand, such as tambourines, maracas, and drums. That day is so exciting. The children look very happy, and the family joyfully begins the Christmas celebration. The novena has specific prayers for each day.


Every Christmas after midnight, my grandmother drags everyone in the family out to play the “Game of Gifts.” She goes around the whole apartment looking for different groups. Usually my little cousins are in the second room sleeping or playing with Legos, while the big cousins are in the third room watching a Christmas movie or playing cards. The uncles are on the terrace drinking and talking. Once we get together in my grandmother’s room, we start playing our original game.

My Birthday

Every year on my birthday, my family makes that day very special. First, my parents enter my room to sing me “Happy Birthday.” When my sisters bring me the presents they bought me, I open them and take pictures with my family. The next thing I do is take a shower and get dressed to go to my grandmother’s house to celebrate my birthday with the rest of the family. My grandma cooks my favorite dish, which is cabrito. We all eat and have a good time together. When my celebration ends at my grandma’s house, I go back to my house to start getting ready for the party.