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South America


Father Christmas is called Papai Noel. Many Christmas customs are similar to USA or UK. For those who have enough money, a special Christmas meal will be chicken, turkey, ham, rice, salad, pork, fresh and dried fruits, often with beer. Poorer people will just have chicken and rice.


Chile is located in Southwestern South America, bordering the South Atlantic Ocean and South Pacific Ocean, between Argentina and Peru.

As in most Latin American nations, Chile's Christmas celebrations center on the church and the family. The nation's Catholics observe the novena, nine days of prayer and fasting before Christmas.

Father Christmas is known as Viejito Pascuero and he would wish everyone a Feliz Navidad y un Prospero Anc Nuevo or Happy Christmas and a Prosperous New Year. The children keep a watch for Viejo Pascuero, or Old Man Christmas. He looks very much like Santa Claus and he also arrives with a team of reindeer which is quite unusual since it's summer in South America during the month of December. In Chile little figures made of clay are placed under the Christmas tree called pesebre.

The chimneys on the homes are quite small in this warm climate, therefore Viejo Pascuero climbs through the window with his gifts.

Christmas Eve dinner is eaten very late, most often after Midnight Mass or Misa del Gallo, and consists of turkey and an array of salads, seafood, and olives, accompanied by the local wine, for which Chile is well known. Deserts always include Pan de Pascua, a sweet Christmas bread, along with fruit, cake and cookies.

Christmas day is a family day and the days following are for visiting neighbors and friends.

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People go to the church with family, then come back to a family gathering. At midnight after eating they toast, then the adults' dance while younger people go out to see the fireworks. After this they go to sleep, but before opening the presents under the Christmas tree. That day is very special for because they are Christian and celebrate Jesus' birth on the 24th of December.

The dinner food is pork, turkey, and a great variety of meals. Then the table is covered with sweet things, cider, beer, and juice for consuming while waiting for the time of the toast. After the toast all the family chat, others play.

Houses are decorated with red and white garlands; on the door Father Christmas's Boots are placed. The Christmas tree is decorated with colored lights, ornaments and Father Christmas placed on top of it. Mothers make different kinds of meals such as roasted turkey, roasted pork, stuffed tomatoes, mince pies, Christmas's bread and puddings. The toast: drink prepared with different kinds of fruit which is cut into pieces, then it is mixed with juice and cider.


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In Venezuela on December 16th families bring out their pesebres which is a specially designed and thought out depiction of the nativity scene.

It is a custom to attend at one of nine carol services is observed by most venezuelans. Firecrackers explode and bells ring to call worshippers from bed in the predawn hours. The last of the of the masses takes place on Nochebuena de Navidad Christmas Eve. Families attend a mass on this night and then return home to a huge and fancy dinner.

On January 6th when the children awaken they will discover that the straw that they had left beside theie bed the night before has gone and in its place are gifts the children know that the Magi and their camels have been and when they go to look in the mirror if they have a black smudge on their cheek they know that Balthasar, King of the Ethiopians has kissed them whilst they slept.

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