Christmas Day is a public holiday in Peru every 25 December. In Peru, Christmas traditions are strongly Catholic and steeped in Spanish traditions from Europe. But there are also unique twists to the way Peruvians celebrate the season.
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First of all, Christmas comes near the beginning of summer instead of in the winter. Santa Claus comes, but he doesn’t take on as big a role as in many other countries. Instead, the birth of Christ, nativity scenes, attending Christmas masses, and family gatherings are the central focus.
In the run up to Christmas Eve, which is the main day of celebration, there is a Peruvian tradition of giving out gifts of a cup full of hot chocolate, white cake full of dried fruits, and small presents to kids, friends, or even a stranger. This is called “Chocolatadas”.
After attending mass at 10pm on 24 December, people head home to feast on turkey or chicken, tamales, sweet bread, applesauce, and more and to open the presents. A Christmas toast will be made at the stroke of midnight, and fireworks will suddenly light up the sky. Kids will then go to bed, while adults may stay up and party all night.
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