As you can imagine there are many differences when it comes to celebrating the holidays in Paraguay, but there are many similarities as well! Here are a few examples that come to mind….
Food- lots of Food! At the top of the menu- carne asada, or bar-b-qued beef and pork. Clarico, or finely chopped fruit placed in a 5-gallon bucket retrieved from the barnyard, which is then filled with wine, champagne and orange soda. Finally, the tatakuaa, or earthen oven, is fired up and readied for the chipa guazu. Chipa guazu, (sounds like something from a Dr. Seuss book, doesn’t it?), is a special bread made from freshly ground corn, eggs, oil, and lots of homemade cheese- delicious! Paraguayans actually plant their corn so the harvest coincides with the holiday season in order to prepare this specialty.
|Cutting fruit for Clarico|
Visiting neighbors with Holiday Greetings. It is a tradition with my family, in the states, to bake Christmas cookies, then share with friends and neighbors. I decided to continue this tradition in Paraguay, and some neighbor kids joined me in baking.
Because I didn’t have plates, we cut plastic soda bottles and placed our goodies inside. After tying tiny homemade cards to the bottles, we were off to visit and wish our friends and neighbors a Feliz Navidad!
At many homes large outdoor crèches were assembled complete with all the key players, decorated with greenery and flowers from the yard, candles and offerings of fruit and candies.
On Christmas Day, gifts are not exchanged. Instead, Dia de Los Tres Magos,(Day of the The Three Wise Men), is celebrated on January 6th. On this day all good children place a shoe near an open window in the evening, hoping it will be filled with treats and small toys. As you can see, Los Tres Magos have an interesting sense of humor, as this is what Mark found in his shoe!
Here’s to hoping you had a wonderful holiday season, whether in the States or in Paraguay celebrating both old and new traditions!