The festive season is upon us and Noche Buena is one of the most important Latin American celebrations of the year. Noche Buena, also known as La Cena de Nochebuena or Navidad, is translated from “Good Night” in Spanish and it refers to the evening before Christmas. For Latinos and many Hispanic households, it is one of the biggest feasts of the year.
On Noche Buena, families come together and they usually eat late at night (around midnight). On Christmas Day, family and friends come together again and enjoy leftovers from Noche Buena. Santa Claus may come to visit children but it is not the focus of Noche Buena or even Christmas day – gifts arrive to children on the 6th of January which is known as “Dia de los Reyes” or Three Kings Day.
On Noche Buena, villancicos (Christmas carols) are sung with family before midnight. Many families put out a Nativity scene leading up to Noche Buena to serve as a reminder that they are celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. Children also break a star-shaped Piñata on Noche Buena.
Some of the popular Noche Buena foods include the following:
- Sopa de Pescado y Marisco (a classic fish and shellfish soup)
- Roast pork (known as lechon in Spanish)
- Roast lamb
- Mixed green salad
- White asparagus
- Spanish romesco seafood pasta salad
- Bacalao ala Vizcaina
- Bunuelos (small donuts)
- Turron (Spanish almond candy)
- Polvorones (almond cookies)
- Mantecados (Spanish crumble cakes)
- Rompope or Coquito (eggnog with a Puerto Rican twist)
While Noche Buena isn’t a federal public holiday in Mexico, it is a very busy time of the year with many shopping districts and communities hosting celebrations in streets and at public facilities.
If you’re looking for authentic Mexican food, visit Ramona’s restaurant!