Aside from the snow, below-freezing temperatures and classic English Christmas carols that dominate radio stations just before Thanksgiving, Christmas in Trujillo Bay isn’t much different from the beloved holiday back home. Festive decorations in all colors and styles can be found in the shops around Parque Central as can Santa Claus figurines and Nativity scenes. In fact, it’s no surprise (close to 97% of the country is reportedly Catholic) that an elaborate, miniature Nativity scene can typically be viewed in the park as Christmas approaches. Some people put up Christmas lights as well. Banana Beach is no exception. Our lights are up, our garland is hung and our tree is now lit! On a side note, I also personally love how all of the gas stations seem to decorate for the Christmas season with lights and garland. The Uno station on the way out of Trujillo even has a tall, lit Christmas tree in the parking lot, bringing Christmas cheer to those passing through.
As in the United States and Canada, the extent of Christmas celebrations depends on income. Several wealthier families have embraced North American influences and decorate a Christmas tree and distribute presents from ‘Santa Claus’. For some of the families living in poverty, gifts may or may not be exchanged but families still spend the holiday together. Las Posadas is a commonly celebrated tradition here where families and relatives gather together at one home for a few days or just for Christmas Eve. Around midnight on Christmas Eve, a prayer will be read and everyone will then rejoice ‘Feliz Navidad’ and hug one another, grateful for the passing of another year.
What would Christmas be without a special meal! Dinner is often served after midnight. Tamales are usually a central dish. The spiced cornmeal is stuffed with chicken, beef or pork, and a variety of additional fillings including rice, potatoes, beans, capers, olives and peas. The tasty combination is then wrapped in fresh banana leaves and dipped into boiling water to cook. I definitely intend to try these this year! Wealthier families also opt for serving a turkey with stuffing and cranberry sauce much like we do in the States.
The Mystic at Banana Beach will also be hosting Christmas dinner this year. Juergen has several tasty dishes in mind that you will definitely want to come out and try. We will be sending out an e-mail with the detailed menu in the days following. Trust me when I say, you will not want to miss it!
Cheers from the Banana Beach Crew.
Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays! Feliz Navidad!