Christmas is one of the most important Christian feasts in Chile, and a major public holiday event for people across the country.
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In Chile, many Christmas traditions are the same as in the US and Europe, such as Christmas trees, lights, nativity displays, presents, cards, and family parties and feasts.
Yet, there are also a number of unique Chilean traditions. First of all, since Chile is strongly Roman Catholic, many attend special masses during the nine days leading up to 25 December. This practice is called “Novena”.
Also, Christmas Eve is more important than Christmas Day as to festivities. On Christmas Eve evening, families dine on roast chicken, turkey, or pork and on traditional Christmas cake. They may also indulge in a spiced coffee-milk drink called “Monkey’s Tail” that is doused with a shot of liquor.
After eating, some go to church again. Others stay home and wait for the presents to be opened around midnight. Then the kids often wander over to friends’ houses showing off their new toys.
On Christmas Day itself, people generally just relax at home or maybe get out to the beach.