A Travellers Christmas: Erica From Over Yonderlust
Some travellers love Christmas and lament that they can’t be home. Others enjoy the escape from the consumerism and endless carolling (put me in that camp!) and some look for the quirky that happens when other cultures interpret Christmas in their own land. I asked some traveller friends to share how they see and spend Christmas on the road; it’s like a peek into Christmas Around The World.
You can see all the ‘A Travellers Christmas’ posts here.
Christmas is a bit different in Colombia.
Gingerbread men, glass ornaments, tinsel, soft light, hot cocoa or egg nog, and Bing Crosby softly crooning from your living room – THIS is what I think about when I think of a traditional Christmas back home with my family.
You can imagine my surprise and delight when things went a bit differently when we celebrated with our Couchsurfing friends in Medellin, Colombia.
Let me get one thing straight. These guys don’t celebrate reverently… they party and celebrate like its 1999/the end of the world/New Years Eve. Prepare yourself. A Christmas in Colombia is not for the faint hearted.
A few things to look forward to:
Chivas: Imagine a hollowed out Bluebird school bus painted in crazy colors, decked out with strobe lights, a stripper pole, and a sound system that can vibrate your head right off your body. Got it? Now pack 40-60 young, attractive Colombians into the bus in a drunken haze and speed off into the night to look at Christmas lights. Paired with foam spraying everywhere and boxes of Aguardiente and Medellin Rum and you have one heck of a mobile Christmas party.
Christmas Lights: Probably some of the most impressive lights I have ever seen, Medellin puts up an impressive display of lights that easily goes for a mile. Each year is a bit different with them selling the leftovers to foreign countries to fund the next season’s light display.
Christmas Eve Parties: Normally the most quiet of the evenings for my family, this is when the entire neighborhood gets together for a block party outside. Massive amounts of beer and booze kick off the night as you are dancing into the morning light while kids are running around everywhere trying to find the hidden presents that Baby Jesus left them. This is a wild and crazy night.
Lanterns: Sure they are technically illegal but that doesn’t stop Colombians from participating in an age old tradition. We got to make 5 6 footers and 1 15 foot tall lantern to launch into the night.
Christmas Day: A rather toned down experience, all the parents nurse their hangovers with their family members over a bowl of homemade sancocho (a hearty stew of yuca, corn, chicken and secret ingredients from family recipes).
Think you can handle it? This was by far my favorite holiday experience abroad and if you think you can make it through the holiday celebrations, we implore you to check it out. There is nothing more heartwarming and amazing than the Colombian people and their traditions.
Erica is half of the team at Over Yonderlust.Join this tattooed adventure travel couple across the world as they photograph their adventures! You can find them on Facebook and Twitter providing daily content.