Christmas is a worldwide tradition that is celebrated every December 25, but for Venezuelans the most important celebration is the day before.
The Christmas Eve parties, the gifts and the sharing by Venezuelan families who today live in TT are well known.
Hairdressers, supermarkets, gift shops, clothing and footwear stores saw Venezuelan customers earlier than usual in TT, as their celebrations will have taken place on the night of December 24.
Carlos Suarez told Newsday, "For us Christmas is special, with lots of music, joys and sorrows, traditional foods, drinks and above all sharing with the family. We do all of this during the day and night of each December 24."
Celebrations in Venezuela begin on December 16, which is when Christmas masses begin every morning, until December 24, with the Rooster Mass at midnight. As it is a predominantly Catholic country, there are many such Christmas traditions.
The most important celebration in Venezuela is Christmas Eve, when at midnight the birth of the baby Jesus is commemorated.
"Although we are in another country, Venezuelans try to maintain our traditions, especially those of Christmas, but with respect for the culture of TT," said Suarez.
Luisa Márquez explained more about what happens on December 24.
“On this night it is common for Venezuelans to get together as a family to have dinner and exchange gifts. At dinner they eat delicious dishes and typical dishes, such as ham bread, chicken salad, Hallacas (pastelle), black cake and dulce de lechoza or rice pudding,” she recalled.
All this prior to the most anticipated event for Venezuelan children, the arrival of San Nicolás (Santa Claus) or the
Niño Jesús (baby Jesus.
“The children are anxiously waiting at 12am on December 25 to discover the gifts that this character left them around the Nativity or Christmas tree,” said Márquez.