12 Things You Didn’t Know About Christmas

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3. Full-sized dolls. 

In Panama, many celebrate the Christmas season (and the end of a long year) by creating a life-sized muñeca, or doll, and propping it up outside their homes. They often create them to look like themselves, a friend, a family member, a well-known public figure, etc. and dress them in old clothing. The best part? On New Year's Eve, they blow up the muñecas to symbolize the end of a old year and a fresh start. 

 

4. Latin American Hospitality

Las Posadas (literally "the accomodations") are a Catholic tradition celebrated in various parts of Latin America, such as Mexico and Guatemala. Many Latinos in the United States also celebrate Las Posadas every Christmas. Basically, beginning on the 16th of December, participants recreate Joseph and Mary's desperate search for shelter in Bethlehem before the birth of Jesus Christ. Participants split into two groups -- one party searches for shelter, while the other group play the various inn keepers. Once the roaming parents-to-be are granted shelter, everyone enters the "inn" for a celebration.

 

 5. Five Star Accomodations: 

Jesus Christ may have been born in a stable...but now, devotees treat him to top-of-the-line accomodations! Many Latin Americans create elaborate nacimientos, or Nativity ScenesThe scenes are often extremely elaborate -- taking up entire tabletops or rooms! Typically, they feature homemade nacimiento paper, gorgeous figurines, and sometimes families add in extras like complicated houses, waterfalls, mountains, and scenery. 

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About this author1

Cristina Arreola, Editorial Assistant

Originally from El Paso, Texas, Cristina earned her degree at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University before moving to BrooklynNew York. In her downtime, you can usually find her scouring the city for the most authentic Mexican food (still looking...), scaring herself silly watching horror movies, or baking her favorite sweets. You can follow her on Twitter at @c_arreola

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