Tradition demands that the family starts gathering to pray at 9pm. Christmas prayer lasts for 20-30 minutes because it isn’t any ordinary Hail Mary. The Novena is the Christmas prayer, consists of prayers that have been specially written for each of the 9 days that run up to the 24th, Jesus’ birth.
And then it is presents time. There is never any rush in the Latin blood, so they spend all the time that they have, not seeming to feel hungry at all, to thank you each other for the presents.. When it gets to dinner it’s about 10pm. You eat late with the hope that you’ll get to 12am during dinner time, to celebrate Jesus’ birth. This tradition is good for starving you off so that food gets tastier.
Unfortunately I can’t describe a traditional Colombian Christmas dinner because we didn’t have one. Typically in Colombia you’d have a roast turkey at Christmas.. Instead, we had ‘boiled’ turkey legs and potato salad.. It was delicious but it didn’t have the glam a whole bird would have given! Also the word ‘boiled’ definitely didn’t sound as sexy as ‘roast’.. Funny how language has such a strong cognitive influence on our petty little brains.. Boiled legs were chosen over an intact bird because apparently then we didn’t have to go through the painful process to de-bone the animal. However, the ‘boiled legs’ didn’t seem to be necessarily much easier to make. They had to be blanched in lemon three times, fried with bacon and white wine, and then slow-cooked with pepper, onion, parsley, celery, and all sorts of other relevant herbs for 2 hours..
|Natilla is in the top left corner..
You can see the Christmas special plate and napkins..
The carb dish was a potato salad made with mayonnaise and heavy cream and gherkin, capers, olives, apple, chicken, topped with crispy bacon and toasted almonds.. I guess dinner was ‘Colombian’ in a way that there was no vegetable?! The lonely Colombian superstar of the meal was ‘Natilla‘, a creamy white jelly/pudding that tasted like nothing, made from panela, cinnamon and flour.