Showing posts from December, 2010

Colombian New Year Traditions

Colombians have many different traditions (some of which are closer to superstitions) that are performed customarily at midnight on New Year's Eve. Each tradition has its own purpose and you cannot do them all; so, you'll have to choose your favorites. Here is a list of a few traditions you can try in your home: 1. Twelve grapes As the clock strikes 12 you need to start eating the grapes. Each grape represents one month of the upcoming year, and you are allowed to make a wish with each grape. But you have to finish eating all twelve grapes before 12:01 in order for your wishes to come true. So, have your wish list ready and eat quickly :). 2. Yellow Underwear If you want to win the lottery next year or at least guarantee yourself riches, try wearing yellow underwear as the clock strikes 12. If you want to double your chances, wear the underwear backwards. 3. Shafts of Wheat Make sure to place 12 shafts of wheat on your dining room table. This will ensure a year with plenty to e

Music for the New Year

Here is a fresh look at a post I made 2 years ago on New Year's Music. Much like Christmas Eve. New Year's Eve parties will last ALL NIGHT LONG. There is also not a party that will not include music of all sorts. But no matter where the party, the music will include the following song at 5 minutes to midnight. Cinco Pa' Las 12 by Nestor Zavarce . You can here it here. The other song that will be played is El Año Viejo by Tony Camargo You need to see this video as it shows the burning of the Año Viejo . I highly recommend that you purchase these 2 songs from Itunes or similar service. NO COLOMBIAN NEW YEAR CELEBRATION IS COMPLETE WITHOUT THEM.

Foods for Your New Year Celebration

Check out the following recipes when planning your New Year Celebration. Lentejas -- Lentils -- A New Year Tradition: Tamales Boyacense

El Año Viejo

Okay, so I LOVE this next tradition. After Christmas, most Colombian families make an Año Viejo . The Año Viejo is a life size doll made of old clothes and stuffed with straw and newspaper. Just before midnight, people set fire to the Año Viejo . It is burning the old and bad of the past year in preparation for the new. In our family, we make an Año Viejo and since it would be illegal to burn it here, we just ceremoniously throw it away. Learn more here:

Santos Inocentes

Just a reminder that tomorrow, December 28, is a fun holiday in Colombia -- Dia de los Santos Inocentes. It is based on a Catholic holiday that commemorates the children, younger than 2 years of age, that were ordered killed by King Herod after the Three Wise Men did not return to tell Herod where the child king could be found. This holiday is celebrated much in the way we here in the US celebrate April Fool's Day. It is a day for playing tricks on people, fake news reports, and jokes. On this day the Colombian newspaper, El Tiempo, publishes a sepcial insert called El Trompo which is filled with funny and fictious stories about current events. When you play a joke or prank on someone, instead of yelling out "April Fools," you say, " Santos Inocentes!" If you'd like to prepare your family a special Santos Inocentes dinner in honor of this holiday, Check out the recipes that Family Fun magazine has for April Fool's Day. There is a section called Fun Fo

More on Colombian Christmas from Colombian Daddy

When people in Colombia think about Christmas, they think about today, December 24 th . December 25 th is just a nice day off, a day most people will spend sleeping. Let me explain. Known as Noche Buena , Navidad , or simply El 24 , December 24 th is the time when the essential traditions of Colombian Christmas celebrations take place. But before diving into what will happen tonight, a little background is in order. For most kids, the school year ends around the middle of November. This is true for University students as well. With tests and grades behind and even remedial tests and courses postponed until January, the arrival of December is akin to the arrival of a long awaited weekend after a hard work week. Maybe is more like the arrival of summer in places away from the Equator. Usually December also brings the end of the November rains and ushers in the beginning of bright, sunny days. Thus, everything is set for a month long celebration, and the build up to the 24 th be

Colombian Daddy's Take on Colombian Christmas

If this is your first Christmas in Colombia, here are some things you can expect and some instructions on how to weather the Holiday season there. 1. For 98 % of the people it IS Christmas. Not much mention of Kwanzaa or Hanukkah or any other non-Christian tradition. Furthermore, while there are many Christian and evangelical denominations in the country, most Colombians call themselves Catholics. In fact, it is around this time, whether on Christmas Eve or New Year's Eve, that a lot of them actually make it to Mass. 2. Thus, you can expect decorations with religious motifs and people gathering to do the Rosary around Nativity Scenes. However, more recently, Santa, Reindeer, and snow-covered pine tree decorations have become more common. Hey, if Americans and Europeans do it, it's got to be cool, never mind the sunny -- and in some places sweltering -- weather outside. 3. Yes, there are Christmas trees too. They are everywhere. We hang Christmas ornaments from them too. However

Last Minute Gift Idea: Book for ages 8-12

Yesterday, I introduced you to the Nobel Peace Prize nominated Children's Peace Movement. Today, I have another book suggestion on this subject. While Cameron's Out of War is an outstanding book for teenagers interested in learning more about the civil conflict and peace movement in Colombia, there is another book for a younger audience. It is much less comprehensive, but it introduces the concept of the Children's Peace Movement to a younger audience. Michelle Mulder has written a Kids' Power Book entitled "Yeny and the Children for Peace." You can get it here:

Last Minute Gift Idea: Book for Teenagers

The Colombian Civil War has lasted for decades. The armed groups -- guerrilla and paramilitary and military -- have been responsible for many abuses that have often violated the human rights of ordinary Colombians. According to the United Nations, around 5,000 people lose their lives every year as a direct result of the armed conflict, and since 1985 over 3 million people have been forced to leave their homes. In 2009, this meant that Colombia had the largest number of internally displaced persons in the world -- an unfortunate and sad statistic. In 1996, the Movimiento de los Niños por la Paz -- Children's Peace Movement -- began. It started in small towns and cities as children met in round tables where they learned about and discussed their rights. This lead to a Nation Wide vote, by Colombian children, which determined the top 12 main rights that children should have. They included the right to life, the right to peace, and the right to a family that loves them. One year

Colombian TRON Link

In 1982, I was 12 years old (should I really admit that?!?). I went to see TRON at the Villa theater with a group of friends. My father took us, though he was not too impressed with the show. I remember thinking that it was pretty cool, though I can't remember anything about it now. This past weekend my husband took my oldest boy to see the movie. They liked it and decided it was defintiely not MOM material. There is, however, a little material for the blog that is related to this movie. Here goes: Colombian Juan Sebastián Gómez, from Medellin, used to dream about making movies. Now, he has made his dream a reality. Gomez works for Digital Domain, the company that was in charge of making many of the visual effects for the TRON LEGACY movie. The thirty year old Paisa coordinated a group of 20 people as lead look development artist, working on the cars, backgrounds, and characters seen in the movie. During the post production phase, he worked as the lead lighter. You can read the who

Colombian Pride

Enjoy a bit of Colombian Pride:

La Novena

Since Colombia is primarily a Catholic country. Tonight marks the start of the NOVENA, a Catholic tradition. The NOVENA lasts 9 nights -- until Christmas Eve. Not being Catholic myself, I am a bit foggy on all the details and maybe one of my readers could fill in some information in the COMMENTS section. I did, however, find this interesting link on that seems to indicate which prayers are to be said on each of the nine nights (In Spanish). Included in many family Novenas will be the singing of Christmas Carols or Villancicos. So, in addition to the ones mentioned yesterday, you can learn this one. Anton Tiruliru liru Here are the lyrics to Anton Tiruliru liru: Anton tiruliru liru Antón tiruliru ra Jesús al pesebre vamos a adorar Duérmete niño chiquito Que la noche viene ya Cierra pronto tus ojitos Que el viento te arrullara Chorus Duérmete niño chiquito Que tu madre velará Cierra pronto tus ojitos Por que

Colombian Christmas Traditions

Over the past two holiday seasons, I have shared many Colombian Christmas traditions. Here is a review for you: For Christmas Traditions: #1 -- El Alumbrado #2 -- El Pesebre #3 -- Mis Aguinaldos For Christmas Carols -- Villancicos: #4 -- Burrito de Belén #5 -- A la Nanita Nana #6 -- Vamos Pastores Vamos For Christmas Recipes: #7 -- Tamales #

Last Minute Gifts: P.A.R.C.E.

Amigo, Compadre , Compañero , Compinche , Colega , and Amigote are just a few words that can be used to say FRIEND in Spanish. However in Colombia, and more specifically in Antioquia and its capital Medellín , the word of choice is PARCE ( PAHR say). A PARCE is a good or close friend and the word is consistently used by most PAISAS (people from Antioquia and the surrounding coffee growing region) when referring to their friends. This is why is should come as no shock that JUANES ( a.k.a. Juan Esteban Aristizabal ), the world famous Colombian rocker and PAISA , might name his latest album P.A.R.C.E. A great stocking stuffer idea and a must for any Colombia lover's collection. The album hit stores last week, and now that I have had a chance to hear it, I'd like to offer my opinion. First, it is a bit of a departure from his more upbeat rockero music of the past, and to me seems a little U2 ish . Though this is no

Popular Colombian Names for the Season

Fifteen years ago, my husband and I spent several days in rural Boyaca researching his family history -- among the many choice names was one little girl born the day after Christmas named Melchora Gaspara Baltazara. She was very literally named after all Three Kings. Not sure how I missed this one, but last year there was a report about how Christmas names are very popular in Colombia. In fact, the two most popular names are the Spanish version of Joseph (Jose) and Mary (Maria). Just in time for the season, I thought I'd share this with you. In 2009, there were 1,641,274 men with the name José 2,611,793 people (men and women) with the name María 849, 511 with the name of Jesús 619 with the name Melchor 1,643 with the name Gaspar 2,351 with the name Baltazar Read the full report here:

Five for Friday: Awesome Colombian Salsa

On my personal blog I like to close out each Friday by sharing five things I love. Today as a parting gift I'd love to leave you all with five of my favorite Colombian salsa songs! Colombia is turning out phenomenal dancers and singers and we're giving Cuba and PR a run for their money. :) I made a mixtape for my little Colombino so that when he's old enough to go dancing he'll already know the songs by heart. Here's five songs to start you off if you wish to do the same! - Emily 1. Rebelión (No le pega la negra ) – Joe Arroyo: In my opinion this is the BEST salsa song, not the best Colombian salsa song. The best song hands down. When people hear that iconic piano downbeat they grab a partner and hit the floor in hordes. The lyrics tell the story of a Slave Rebellion and the song starts off with these famous lines "I want to tell you my brother a little piece of black history, of our history, gentleman. And it goes like this..." Oh my goodness, I g

Salsa - Basic Steps

Okay like I said yesterday, I had big plans to make videos and teach you salsa myself but there was a little two foot Colombian with other ideas. Thank goodness for the internet! Below I picked out a video that teaches the basic step and a basic turn. This is all you need to know to get out there and have fun! This couple also has a fun iphone app you can download if you are into that sort of thing. You can find more info here . A side note before you start your lesson. In the US most of the Salsa taught is with a basic step that goes front to back. In Colombia the basic step is almost always danced Cumbia style which is side to side in a circular motion. This difference can be confusing for Colombians when they are outside of Colombia and difficult for foreigners who are bewildered when they go out dancing in Cali. The two styles though are almost exactly the same. The best way to explain this difference is American English vs. British English, they are essentially the same but the s

Merengue - Basic Steps

I have to start off with a confession. I had big plans to make you guys customized, personalized dance lessons. "It'll be great!" I told Colombian Mommy. "I'll make the videos, upload them to youtube and embed them in the blog. Easy-peasy" I forgot though, there there is a small Colombian in my house that often has different ideas about things. Elian is at that stubborn toddler stage where he is intent on controlling the whole world. He personally loves to dance but does not approve of anbody else dancing. The little king must be the only dancer! When we try to dance he screams "No, Mama. No, Mama!" The other day I emerged from the bathroom to hear my husband saying "Papa is allowed to dance if he wants to! You don't tell Papa he can't dance!" I'm still not sure who won that battle. I figured you wouldn't want your dance lessons accompanied by the shouts of my little one so I opted to find you some on the internet instead

Hitting the Dance Floor 101-Know your genres

When you go out dancing in Colombia or at “Salsa/Tropical” dance nights in other countries you’ll be encountering several different types of music. Here's a short overview of the most common. Each title links to a youtube video with an example! Salsa –Duh! Merengue -From the Dominican Republic and the easiest dance in the world. Bachata –Also from the Dominican Republic and usually slower/romantic. It’s very popular in the US right now and I’ve noticed that gentleman like to use it as an excuse to snuggle up. Cha-Cha -Older people tend to cha-cha more than younger but it’s always nice to have this in your arsenal. Rumba -Not as common, but so very beautiful. The rumbas are slow songs and it is especially sweet to see older couples swaying with the ease that only comes with years together. Reggaton -The easiest way to describe it is to say it’s a mash-up of hip-hop and latin beats. Cumbia -Traditional Cumbia is very different than the kind of Cumbias you hear in the clubs and danced

Semana de la Fiesta Salsera

Hi everybody. This is Emily from Notorious MLE . I’ll be guest-posting for the week and before I start I’d like to wish a very Happy Birthday to the lovely author of this blog, the very kind and generous “Colombian Mommy”. Many of you might not know that in addition to authoring this amazing resource she also has helped many families along the journey to bring their children home. She was my anchor in the storm during our adoption process and so this week I am throwing a SALSA party in her honor. Won’t you all join me? Salsa is a really important part of Colombian culture. If you go to a family party, you salsa. If you go to a high school dance, you salsa. All Colombians know how to salsa at least a little bit and some are truly amazing dancers. I used to be a Salsa Dance Instructor and this week I’m going to teach you all you need to know to have a dance party with your Colombianitos at home or a fun night out! I’ll be back tomorrow with an overview of the different types of

Gift Guide -- Frente Cumbiero

Cumbia comes from the Caribbean coast of Colombia (and what is today called Panama). It has been a part of the cultural tradition since the 1800s. It is a mix of African and Indian traditions. Read more about Folkloric Cumbia here: However, beginning in the 1950's and 1960's, changes in the Folkloric Cumbia sound began to began. Soon, Cumbia became a popular commercial genre in Colombia. Eventually Colombian artists started touring, taking cumbia to places like Mexico, Argentina, Central America and Perú. In those areas, Cumbia was adapted by local performers and each developed their own style. By the turn of the century, Cumbia was one of the biggest genres in commercial music in Latin America. Many Colombians have long felt that the development of other kinds of Cumbia have degenerated the original sound, and really the sound is not very popular in Colombia today. A few new bands, like Bomba Stereo , are t

Gift Guide -- Galguerias

GALGUERIA is a unique Colombian word for JUNK FOOD! It comes from the word GALGO which means 'strong craving or hunger'. Outside of Colombia, few people will know what you are talking about if you use the word, but every Colombian child will immediately know exactly what you are referring to. That said, what holiday season would be complete without a house full of GALGUERIAS . Unfortunately, getting some good galguerias outside of Colombia can be difficult. So, if your local Latino market doesn't have some, you can try La Tienda del Pueblo online store. They have a nice selection of Colombian galguerias that can arrive in time for the holidays. You can use Paypal , so your transaction is secure. If you have adopted older Colombianitos , this might be a really great find for a special holiday surprise treat. Personally, our kiddos will be getting Chocolatinas Jet this year. Shhhhhh ! rnd

Gift Guide -- Children's Book for Colombian/American Families

My kids don't just have a grandma and grandpa, they also have an abuelito and abuelita . Neither set of grandparents live nearby, but because it is easier and cheaper to visit the grandparents, we do it more often. They also visit us. Whereas some nincompoop at the US Embassy twice denied abuelitas visa to come and visit us. (Do not get me started on Immigration!!!) She decided not to "waste more money on that" and allowed her passport to expire. The likelihood is that we will never see her here on American soil. Anyway, if you find yourself in a similar situation, you might enjoy reading the following book to your little one. In the book, we discover that Liliana's Grandmothers are very different. One lives in New England, the other lives in a South American country. (Just a reminder here that the author, Leyla Torres, is from Colombia. " Hmmm ... I wonder which country she could be referring to?") Though a trip to either grandparent's house is dif