Christmas in Argentina
For those used to a white Christmas, the experience of the holidays in Argentina, and South America as a whole, is very different. The main celebration is on Christmas Eve, when family and friends gather to share in festivities much like 4th of July in the States. It’s the middle of summer, often very hot, and backyard asados (BBQs) are the star menu of choice.
There is much laughing and sharing, a Malbec and Fernet con Coca or two, and apart from the heat and the cookout fare, the day is still celebrated in much the same manner as in colder climates… until a barrage of fireworks goes off at midnight, that is. Sometimes there’s an actual show, often it’s just the neighbors (and a lot of neighbors) setting off their own poppers and low flying pyrotechnics. If you happen to be celebrating in a fenced in yard and aren’t expecting these sudden expressions of yuletide joy, you might find the booms and rapid flashes reminiscent of wartime trenches (reminding me personally of the Christmas 1915 truce immortalized in this song). The neighborhood show continues merry and bright for a solid half hour more, and then the booms fizzle out, dogs calm their howls, creatures stop their stirrings, and families retreat back into their houses to toast the felices fiestas and look ahead to the new year.