Colombia is a country full of history and culture and many would say, one of the most traditional in all of Latin America. Colombians who have emigrated to other countries, such as the United States or Europe, have had to leave many things behind, especially at Christmas.

Christmas is a very important time for Colombians, who relish the season. Colombia fills trees, lights, fireworks and festivities at Christmas, from the capital city of Bogota to the Caribbean coast and all the way into mountain villages.

These six Colombian Christmas traditions will be familiar to everyone from Colombia, no matter where they find themselves today.

1. Christmas comes in October

Colombians like Christmas so much that it’s very common to start seeing lights, trees and nativity scenes starting in October. This has been the case for a long time.

When December arrives, the whole country is illuminated as the Christmas season reaches its pinnacle.

2. Praying the novena

It is a very common practice that takes place from December 16 to 24. This is done in order to celebrate the birth of the child God. These prayers are done in the company of friends, family and neighbors. It is a tradition with many years behind it and of course, with great significance.

3. Christmas lights everywhere

Christmas lights aren’t unique to Colombia, but they are extremely popular in the South American country. The lighting in Colombia is impressive, to say the least.

And every year, people go out for a walk or take different bus routes that tour the city so they can admire the Christmas decorations.

Each city takes pride in its different decorations, so if you have the opportunity to travel around Colombia during the holidays, it’s worthwhile.

4. Christmas dinner

Christmas in Colombia not only brightens the eyes and fills people’s hearts, but it also fills the stomach.

Every December 24 around midnight the whole family and guests come to the table to enjoy a delicious Christmas dinner.

You can try delicious typical foods such as buñuelos, cold meats, tamales, stuffed chicken and of course, cakes and pastries.

5. Nativity scenes

Just like they do with Christmas lights, Colombians take the Nativity scene to the next level.

Not only are they a feature in individual homes, but throughout the country you will also find large installations with elaborate decorations and figures. Many towns transform the whole cityscape into Bethlehem for the season. 

6. Natilla and bunuelos

Without a doubt, these are two of the most typical Christmas foods in Colombia, which is why when these dates arrive it is very common to find them in all homes.

christmas in colombia bunuelos natilla

They’re hard to find in other countries unless you happen to live in an area with many Colombian immigrants.

Want to try making them at home? This recipe is a good starting place.

About Remitly

At Christmas, you want to be with your loved ones and share gifts. If you live far away, Remitly is here to help you.

With the Remitly app , you can send funds to Colombia in minutes and track the transfer every step of the way.

Learn more at or download the app today .

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