During Christmas the weather is warm in Argentina. But that in no way lessens the fun of the season. Preparations for Christmas Day begin much earlier than in many other parts of the world. Every house is decorated beautifully with lights and flowers. Living rooms of individual homes are adorned with wreaths of green, gold, red and white flowers.
Red and white garlands are hung with an aesthetic touch on the doors of houses. Artificial or live trees are used to create the Christmas tree and embellished with laces, balls, Santa Clause figures, candles, colored lights, ornaments, small gifts and even "Papai Noels". The Nativity scene or “pesebre” is an important part of the Argentine Christmas decorations.
Many set up a creche in their homes during the season, setting up Christ's manger with great care. The “pesebre” is placed close to the Christmas tree. A wonderful custom practiced be many people here is applying cotton balls on the branches of the Christmas tree to simulate snow throughout the nativity.
Christmas here is an occasion for a get together with extended members of the family. On Christmas Eve, people go to local churches with their family to attend religious services. Thereupon, they visit each other's home.
There are joyous family reunions in every Argentine home. Everyone relishes a savory meal followed by a toast(for adults only). Grown-ups usually spend time dancing on Christmas songs while kids indulge themselves in fireworks to commemorate the birth of Christ. At midnight on the 24 of December, sounds of fireworks can be heard from everywhere. Opening of presents, placed under the Christmas tree from beforehand, is a must at midnight.
Then family members and friends are kissed goodbye and everyone goes to bed. Many may prefer to spnding the night away chatting or playing games. A wonderful tradition here is to light "globos", colourful paper baloons that take off into the sky when lit from inside. If you visit Argentina during Christmas, you will be spellbound by the beauty of the numerous "globos" flying in the night sky.
On Christmas day, everybody is greeted 'Feliz Navidad', meaning 'Merry Christmas' in Argentina.
About 92% of the Argentine population comprises of Roman Catholics and hence, religious services take up much of the day here. Family members sing carols to the accompaniment of the piano. Many people form groups and go from house to house singing carols on this day and receiving small gifts or goodies in return.
Christmas dinner is served here on the night of 24th December. The traditional Argentine Christmas dinner may be served in a garden area and consists of delicious dishes like roasted turkey, roasted pork, stuffed tomatoes, mince pies, Christmas's bread and puddings.
The main dish may be a suckling pig or a roasted peacock. A hot favourite here is "Ninos envuettas", made of steak cut in square pieces of 3 inches, stuffed with minced mean mixed with onions, hard-boiled eggs, and spices. The toast is usually a drink prepared with different kinds of fruit, cut into pieces, and mixed with juice and cider.
In Argentina, children recieve their presents on January 6th, known as "Three Kings Day". On the eve of January 6th, Argentine kids place their shoes outside the front door of their homes to be filled with the Magi and also leave hay and water beside for the horses of the Magi as they journey towards Bethlehem for the Christ Child. Many also keep their shoes underneath the Christmas tree or under their bed.