12 Things You Didn’t Know About Christmas


9. Mischievous Celebrations: 

Before the Elf on a Shelf there was Caganer, a traditional Catalan figurine. He's often depicted as a peasant wearing a traditional red cap (the barretina)  with his trousers down, showing off his bare bum. The most interesting part? The figuring is defecating! You can often find him hanging out in traditional nativity scenes. Joan Lliteras, a caganer connoisseur told BBC News that the figurine has been a feature of the Catalan nativity scenes for at least two centuries. "There was the legend that if a countryside man did not put a caganer in the nativity scene, he would have a very bad year collecting vegetables," she said. 


10. Boozy French Toast: 

Many Portuguese (and some Brazilians) whip up this traditional dish around Christmastime -- rabanada. The bread is soaked in a combination of milk, wine, sugary syrups, and eggs. After frying the bread until it's crispy, many coat it in sugar, cinnamon, or cocoa powder. Sounds like a delicious version of french toast to us! 


11. Nine Days of Song: 

Beginning on Dec. 16th, many Colombians do Novenas Navideñas for nine days until Christmas Day. Traditionally,  families and neighbors and friends unite in the evening to sing and pray around the Nativity scene. 


12. Tradition...or mean prank? 

Don't be mad -- that's not someone breaking in to your house! It's just your Puerto Rican friends participating in an unforgettable tradition, a parranda. A parranda takes place when a small group of friends get together to "asaltar" or surprise another friend. In the Puerto Rican version of Christmas caroling, the friends typically play an instrument - usually a guitar or tamborine - and sing. 


Do you have any fun traditions you celebrate with your familia? Share in the comments!

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About this author

Cristina Arreola, Associate Editor

Cristina Mari Arreola is the Associate Editor. Originally from El Paso, Texas, she earned her degree at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University before moving to New York City. 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 frantically reading a novel from her (extremely lengthy) reading list. See what she's reading now on Goodreads, and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

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