Celebrating a Catholic Christmas: Some of our Traditions.


    A nativity scene with bright lights

    I come from a Catholic family. When holidays come around, we have special traditions that we participate in together. Some people may not know about them or why we do them. So, I thought I would explain some of them.

    For Catholics, Christmas is not just on December 25th. It is a season, a season we prepare for weeks in advance. During the four weeks prior, we have what is called Advent, where we prepare spiritually for the coming of our savior Jesus Christ. An advent wreath is placed upon our tables adorned with 4 candles, usually three purple and one pink. Every Sunday one candle is lit while we say an advent prayer. The candles represent…

    • Hope- purple
    • Peace- purple
    • Joy -pink
    • Love -purple

    Advent season this year begins December 1st- December 24th.

    Advent wreath

    Midnight Mass
    In honor of the birth of Jesus, there are several masses on Christmas day. The most popular is Midnight Mass. Catholic churches around the world participate with the churches decorated with a nativity scene, depicting the manger where Jesus was born.
    Growing up I remember my mom would buy us a Christmas outfit just for Midnight mass and we would all go together as a family. I remember the church always looked so beautiful decked out in Christmas décor. 


    Las Posadas 

    A Mexican Catholic tradition, nine days of celebration which represent the 9 months of pregnancy of Mary (mother of Jesus Christ). Starting December 16th- 24th, it includes the live reenactment of Mary and Joseph’s journey to/in Bethlehem. Perhaps you may have heard the Christmas Story? Where Mary and Joseph travel to Bethlehem and they go door to door and there’s no room for them at the inn’s, Mary gives birth to baby Jesus in a manger.

    Christmas doesn’t stop on December 25th for Catholics, twelve days after we celebrate the Epiphany. The day that the three wise men arrived to give baby Jesus gifts, special gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. 
    Catholics begin preparing in November all the way into January. Along with these important traditions are the ones that you normally see during the holidays: Christmas trees, decorating with lights, and giving/receiving gifts.

    In between these days are also Advent Saint Feast Days like:

    St. Nicholas Day 
    • The Feast of the Immaculate Conception
    • Our Lady of Guadalupe Feast Day
    • St. Lucy’s Feast Day

    Catholics keep the Christmas spirit going before and after December 25th, so if you see someone with their decorations up early or kept up past Christmas maybe that’s why.