I feel so lucky to be in Guatemala at this time of year! Celebrating X-mas here was so different from my family´s traditions in the States, where Christmas is a quiet night filled with a lot of family and food, a drive around the neighborhood to check out Christmas lights, and a mug of cocoa paired with a viewing of White Christmas.
In Guatemala the big celebration happens on Christmas Eve. I was invited to join on of the maestras from the school, Eunice (pronounced AY-oo-NEE-say) for the festivities in nearby Colomba. Just before midnight we drove over to her folk´s casa. When clocks and watches everywhere ticked off the last second before 12 a.m., the night sky filled with sparkling fireworks (here they´re called bombas). The sound was unreal, everyone in the town, in the country!, setting off huge fountains of light and sound from their concrete roofs.
After an incredible show that left my mouth dry from being agape in awe for so long, we gathered around the kitchen table and devoured traditional Guatemalan Christmas fare, Christmas Tomales! Picture of a bed of rice decorated with a hunk of chicken, strips of red pepper, green olives, raisins and prunes, and a sauce made from pulverized sesame seeds! Mmm! And that´s just ONE kind of Tomale! We also ate Tomales Dulce. In those the rice is sweetened with sugar and there are more raisins and cashews sprinkled over the top, and you leave off the olives and peppers. Both types of tomales are wrapped in big, green leaves and steamed to perfection in a big pot. Dude, I´m drooling uncontrollably right now just at the memory!
So it was a wonderful Christmas and I´m so happy I was invited to share it with such warm and loving company. Thanks, Eunice!
The next fiesta will by my b-day on the 30th! I can´t wait! I think we´ll all be going out to dinner in Coatepeque, about 40 minutes away. Colomba is much closer, but the only places to ¨dine out¨ are fast food type fried chicken spots and little food carts. Though I wouldn´t mind a feast of churros and chocobananos for my b-day!