Monday, December 8, 2008

Noche de Iluminación

Last night, twenty five of us crowded into our friends' apartment for what is a very special night in Columbia, and the beginning of Christmas celebrations there. December 7 is the Night of Illumination. It is a special time to get together with friends and family and to celebrate and pray. There are twelve candles. One for each month of the year and/or for the twelve days of Christmas. Each person or family receives a lit candle which is carried and placed in a central location. As they carry the candle, they say a silent prayer for their friends and family. It can be very specific or very broad -- more of a blessing. It was a very special time. Once the candles are all lit, it is the children's job to blow them out.

Then we all get a special hot drink (excluding the children here)made of raw cane sugar, spices, and Tequila, and we toast. The drink is called pinali (I think. I might have to get one of the boys to read this and correct me. We're all still speaking a lot of Spanglish, so sometimes things get a little mixed up. Thankfully, we did have an interpretor last night). It was very sweet and tasty with the spices.

Once we'd all enjoyed our drinks there was birthday cake for the children with birthdays in November and December -- and gifts too. Children are an integral part of the family in Columbia. Unlike in our society, where we often send our children off to do their own thing, they very much do things as a family.

Then there was some dancing games. We laughed and laughed! We Canadians are certainly not dancers! In one game, when the song ended whoever got caught with the broom had to complete a punishment. Bub had to sing a song! I laughed because he had just sung in front of people for the first time that morning (in church with his sisters) and now he had to sing again. He loved it though!

The judges trying to determine the best dancer. It was a tough job! We were all so good :-)!

After the dancing we all sat and cooled down again and had a special time of sharing. It was a beautiful evening and the beginning of a wonderful new tradition.


  1. Oh, that sounds like lots of fun!

  2. Sounds wonderful! I love dancing! And your pictures are great, they really capture the moment.


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