I’ve never had the pleasure of being in another country during Christmas, but I love learning how other cultures and nationalities celebrate the holiday. My book Secrets of a Mayan Moon is set in Guatemala in the jungle and not during the holiday, but I wondered how Christmas was celebrated and gathered snippets from the blog, Guatemalan Genes. http://blog.guatemalangenes.com/ The woman who writes the blog, Cynthia, was born in Guatemala, lived in the U.S. for a while, and then moved back to her country. She helped me keep things authentic in Secrets of a Mayan Moon when I couldn’t travel to the area.
There are many recipes that are served in Guatemala during the holiday on Cynthia’s blog so I won’t put any here, you can find them under her Christmas posts.The Gift of Christmas by Windtree Press authors. Isabella prepares this dish for Tino during their first Christmas together. If you're an Isabella and Tino fan you might want to get the book. It's available in ebook and print. I'll be signing and selling copies at Jan's Paperbacks in Aloha, OR this Sunday the 14th at 5pm.
One of the interesting stories I learned about a Guatemalan Christmas is the Misa de Gallo, or Mass of the Rooster. This sounds strange thinking of a rooster as being linked to Christmas and a mass. The Guatemalan legend says that at midnight Christmas Eve as the baby Jesus was born a rooster crowed. Everyone knows that roosters don’t crow at midnight, they crow when the sun is coming up in the morning. Because of this reality, “Midnight” mass is held early in the morning when the roosters really do crow
The other interesting event that Guatemalan’s do to celebrate, which is what you find in the United States during the Fourth of July and New Year’s Eve, they have fireworks displays at midnight. I’ve found this to be true of other countries such as the Netherlands.