Bolivia Holidays

By Robert Barbaro

Bolivia Background

-The Bolivia population currently stands at an estimated 11.2 million

-Approximately 76% of the Bolivian population is Roman Catholic

-Bolivia is located directly in the center of South America. It borders Peru, Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina, and Chile.

Holidays in December & January

- Christmas Day (Navidad) December 25

- New Years Day (Año Nuevo) January 1

- Three Wise Men Day (Los Tres Reyes Magos) January 6

- Plurinational State Foundation Day (Fundación del Estado plurinacional) January 22

Christmas Day Traditions in Bolivia

- Most families set up a nativity scene in their homes. Churches also set up large nativity scenes usually next to the main doors.


- It is also very common for families to make their own ornaments for their tree. They would usually be made with a material like paper maché.


- On Christmas Eve church bells ring to call families to attend the "Misa del Gallo" a Catholic mass that takes place at midnight. Families gather to feast after the mass and their meals usually consist of picana, salads, roast pork, and tropical fruit.


- It is also customary for them to drink hot chocolate and eat buñuelos on Christmas morning.


- The canastón is another common tradition. It is a very large gift basket given to employees from employers the day before a vacation. It usually consists of food staples such as ketchup, mustard, bread, jam, crackers, cookies, sugar, rice, flour, chocolates, and candy. Panetón and cidra are also included.


- At midnight on Christmas Eve fireworks are set off (Like on the 4th of July).