Mis Aguinaldos

The English translation of Aguinaldo is Christmas Gift, and it can mean many things depending on the Spanish speaking country where you are from. For example, in Mexico, it refers to the Christmas monetary bonus that people often receive. In Colombia, there is a fun game that people begin to play 9 days before Chirstmas during the Novena. It is one of the oldest Chirstmas Traditions in Colombia. The game is often called just Aguinaldos, and though there seems to be some variety in how people play it, the idea remains the same.

You make a agreement with one person, or perhaps several people to play a specific Mis Aguinaldos game, of which there are several including:


Al Sí y Al No
Dar y No Recibir
Tres Pies
Pajita en Boca
Preguntar y No Responder
Beso Robado


Before you play a game, you agree with one or more people to play a particular Aguinaldo game -- rules below. You decide who be on which side of the game and you decide on either a prize for the winner or a punishment for the loser. You seal this agreement with a "Pinky Promise", by linking pinky fingers with your opponent(s), and then resleasing the fingers shouting "Mis Aguinaldos" -- pronounced [Mees ah ghee NALL dohs].


Rules for Playing Al Sí y Al No (Yes or No game)

When people agree to play this game one person (or group of people) agree to only answer YES to questions. The other person (or group) agrees to only answer NO. After the Pinky Promise, you start. If you get the other person to say YES when they should only say NO, you shout "MIS AGUINALDOS", and you get a point and vice versa. You keep track of your points and on Christmas Eve you get your reward for winning or your punishment for losing.


Rules for Playing Dar y No Recibir (Give but Don't Receive)

When people agree to play this game one person (or group of people) agree that they will NOT Take or Receive anything given them by the other person or group. For example, in our house, if I pass the potatoes to my husband and he grabs the bowl from me, I yell, "Mis Aguinaldos" and I get a point. I, on the other hand, if I try to pass it and he won't take it, no one gets a point -- I set it down and then he picks up the bowl himself. You keep track of your points and on Christmas Eve you get your reward for winning or your punishment for losing.


Rules for Playing Tres Pies (Three Feet)

When people agree to play this game one person (or group of people) agree that they will keep their legs together while standing. If a person opens their legs while standing, their opponent can come up behind them and stick his foot in the space between the feet and yell "Tres Pies, Mis Aguinaldos" and they get a point. Again, you keep track of your points and on Christmas Eve you get your reward for winning or your punishment for losing.


Rules for Playing Pajita in Boca (Straw in the Mouth)

In this game, one side agrees for keep a piece of straw in their mouth all day -- except during meals. They also agree to have the opponent try to scare the straw out of your mouth by yelling, "Pajita en Boca," at any time. If the straw falls or is taken out of the mouth, then the opponent yells, "Mis Aguinaldos" and earns a point. The winner is announced on Christmas Eve.


Rules for Playing Preguntar y No Responder (Ask and Do Not Answer)

With this game, both sides try to get their opponent to answer questions. If the questions are answered, the asker can yell "Mis Aguinaldos" and earn a point. So the trick is just never to answer a question that is posed to you by your opponent. Keep track of your points and determine the winner on Chrstmas Eve.


Rules for Playing Beso Robado (Stolen Kiss)

This game is strictly for couples. You each try to steal a kiss from the other. If you get your true love to kiss you back, you yell "Mis Aguinaldos" and get a point. Again, the winner is determined on Christmas Eve.


How to Implement This Tradition in Your Home.

Here in the US, it can be hard to play this game for 9 days when the kids are in school. It is also hard to play with young children. So, in our family, instead of playing for 9 days. We play strictly on Christmas Eve, and we limit ourselves to one game that the whole family plays -- everyone against everyone. (When our children were really small, we played in teams --one parent one child per team.) This has allowed our boys to learn and understand the game and focus on just one thing.

Yesterday, we played Dar y No Recibir. It was so fun to see our 7 year old refusing to accept candy from his Uncle. You could see how much it pained him to refuse. No matter what his uncle said to convince him to take it, our son continued to refuse to take the candy. Everyone was laughing. Finally, his uncle put the candy down on the table. My son grabbed the candy and started to unwrap it. The paper was sticky with chocolate and his uncle was standing next to the garbage can. My son turned back to his Uncle and said, "Tío put this in the garbage for me please." His uncle grabbed the wrapper and my son yelled, while laughing hysterically, "Mis Aguinaldos".

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