At this time of the year at Project Somos, we embrace local customs and share some of our own.
On December 7th, Guatemala celebrates “Burning the Devil.” We celebrated with our own take on this tradition and gathered all the mamas and kids on our patio that evening. In our “fire-pit” we burned some of this past year’s old paper, etc. The mamas wrote things on paper that they wanted to let go of and threw them into the fire! We gathered around the fire, ate cookies I had baked and enjoyed each other’s company.
For the last number of weeks, our mamas have been heading out on weekends to sell their needle and wet-felted handicrafts. Tecpan is known for its Christmas Tree Farms (four that I know of!) and we were invited to set up a booth at one of them. We have also been selling at one of the many highway roadside restaurants!
We host weekly Christmas movies to the local kids who arrive on Thursday afternoons in sibling groups with children as young as three!
We decorate our outdoor Norfolk pine-tree with all the mamas and kids and together decorate each of the homes in secret with the mamas so that when the kids wake in the morning their house is magically decorated for Christmas.
We have gift exchanges, potluck dinner and Winter Solstice celebrations with the mamas, kids and all the staff that work with the families. The workers have their own party and then one with their families.
All the children receive new outfits for the holidays. There are two varieties: typical Guatemalan “trajes” (suits) for the girls and new dress shirts for the boys and velvet/velour party dresses or shirts and shoes (all second-hand). The kids delight in their new clothing, just like kids all over the world. The girls twirl and tap their shoes. The boys strut their stuff!
Once Christmas Eve arrives, some of our mamas and kids will go visit their families and some will stay on-site and Greg and I will celebrate with them (except for the part where they stay up all night on Christmas Eve! No thanks – a Christmas movie, a quiet dinner and early to bed for us!).
May you and your family have a special holiday time, whatever and however you celebrate at this time of the year!