Christmas time in Colombia is THE favorite time of the year of every single Colombian. They are waiting the whole year for December to come (it’s true, our Colombian friends told us so !).

You’ll see that Christmas in Colombia is a real big thing. Colombian people even talk about “recibir diciembre“, literally “welcoming December”.

Here we go for an immersion into the end of the year celebrations, in a 100% Colombian way.

Los alumbrados navideños: the Christmas lights

When December comes, the whole country sets up the Christmas decorations and lights that illuminate the streets. Especially in Medellin, thousands of visitors come every year to see the famous alumbrados in every corner of the city. Medellin becomes a real live show.

The National Geographic has even nominated Medellin in the Top10 of the most beautiful city to watch the Christmas lights!

For the Colombians, to go out and watch the lights while eating an arepa in the street is a traditional activity to do with family or friends between December and January.

La noche de la velitas: night of the little candles

On December 7th, the Christmas celebrations officially start during the little candles night.

This religious tradition consists in celebrating the immaculate conception of the virgin Mary.

It’s the perfect occasion for the Colombian people to gather in family and eat traditional dishes like the buñuelos, the little salty round donuts, the hojuelas, crunchy dessert or the famous natilla, a little sweet flan.


Traditionally, everyone lights candles of different colors. Each color corresponds to a wish.

For example, the red candle represents love, the blue is serenity and the white one is peace.

This night is about sharing, family and the gratitude for all the good things that has happened and to make them last.

Everyone is in the streets, talking to their neighbors, dancing and singing, eating, full of joy and happiness.

The Colombian New Year's Eve and its funny traditions

In Colombia, New Year’s Eve is celebrated in family until midnight.

Everyone is waiting for THE iconic song of the last night of the year, this bell ringing, that every single Colombian people can recognize: “Faltan 5 pa las doce”

The emotion is intense, everyone runs to get together in the same room to sing very loudly until midnight. We kiss, we hug, we wish all the best to everyone. The party goes on but with friends this time, until dawn !


Colombian have a lot of traditions for New Year’s Eve:

Wear yellow underwear, why ? To make sure to bring joy and prosperity ! To find love, you’ll need red underwear.

Fill your pockets with lentils ! Yes, this will guarantee abundance for the year to come.

You want a year full of travels ? You need to run around your neighborhood with your suitcase in your hand.


You clearly understood that New Year’s Eve in Colombia is the big thing. It’s a month full of parties, sharing and so many traditions. The Christmas spirit only ends at the beginning of January when the Three Wise Men arrive. And here it goes, Colombia waits the whole year until December comes again 🙂