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Nochebuena and Navidad are Spanish words referring to the night of Christmas Eve,[1] and celebrated on December 24 every year.[2] In Spain, Latin America, and the Philippines, the evening consists of a traditional dinner with family.

  • The Cuban and Puerto Rican tradition is a family dinner centered around a pig roast, or lechón. The pig is often cooked in a "Caja China," a large box where an entire pig is placed above hot coals.[3] The dinner features many side dishes and desserts, and often games of dominos are played. The tradition is continued by Cuban and Puerto Rican families in the United States.
  • In Spain, Nochebuena includes a dinner with family and friends after Christmas Mass. It is particularly common to start the meal with a seafood dish followed by a bowl of hot, homemade soup. It is also common to have desserts such as turrón.
  • In some countries of Latin America Nochebuena is also celebrated on Christmas Eve and marks the final evening of the Posadas celebrations, in others a dinner is served with the family usually after attended the late Mass known as "Misa de Gallo".
  • This event was also included in the 2008 higher level junior certificate exam as a question in section B.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ortega, Pedro Ribera, Christmas in old Santa Fe Sunstone Press, 1973
  2. ^ Puerto Rican Christmas Traditions. El Boricua. 2013. Retrieved 24 December 2013.
  3. ^ Cordle, Ina Paiva, On Nochebuena, many in South Florida will be roasting a pig in a “caja china” The Miami Herald, 23 December 2013. Retrieved 30 December 2013