Welcoming the Christmas Season
At Casa San Andres, December is filled with activities to commemorate the holidays.
December 16, 2011 - Guatemala
With December already underway, the Christmas spirit is in full-swing at Casa San Andres. December marks a special time at NPH Guatemala; however it is also a month that is distinct for our family. In early December, over half of our pequeños leave Casa San Andres for three weeks of holiday vacation. These children have been granted legal permission to spend the holidays with their biological families. This leaves our NPH family slightly smaller for the holidays, but still with great ambition to celebrate the joy and wonder of the Christmas season, and make it a memorable time for our family.
With no school and plenty of free-time, December is a magical time at Casa San Andres. We have plenty of activities planned to keep our children entertained, as well as activities to commemorate the Christmas season.
Volunteer Thayer dressed up as Santa
To kick-off the festivities, our children celebrated the Quema del Diablo (the Burning of the Devil). Commemorated on December 7th, our children spent the day creating two paper-mache devils—one constructed by the boys and the other by the girls. As Guatemalan tradition states, the devils were later filled with grass, garbage, and crumbled newspaper pieces. In the early evening as dusk began to fall, our family gathered in front of the dining hall—our youngest children on their toes as the devils ignited into the flames. Fireworks were connected to the devils so that once lit, they caught the devils on fire. The spectacle lasted only a matter of minutes, but it was quite the show and a fun way for our family to commemorate a Guatemalan tradition.
With December also comes the much-anticipated holiday tradition of posadas. Posadas are an important Christmas tradition held in communities around Guatemala during the month of December. This year at Casa San Andres, we have a total of nine posadas planned, each posada organized by a different department around our home. Each posada re-enacts the story of Mary and Joseph’s search for a place to stay. Posadas consist of our family (pequeños, volunteers, and staff) walking around our campus, singing, and asking for a place for Mary and Joseph to stay. When Mary and Joseph are finally invited inside, the posada generally concludes with a prayer, short skit, or song and a special snack is provided for everyone to share.
December is a month that brings a lot joy and fun, with exciting excursions planned for our children. Earlier this week, our family went to a water park, nearly two hours from our home. The day was filled with smiles, laughter, and a whole lot of sun and water. From the minute the park’s doors opened, our children spent the day running around, going from one swimming pool to the next, and enjoying the waterslides the park had to offer. All and all, it was a day for our children to have a fun outing, enjoying one another while exploring the park’s amenities.
With just one week remaining until Christmas, our children still have a lot to look forward to. The most-anticipated day is December 24th, referred to as La Noche Buena. On this night, our family will gather for a special dinner, followed by a Christmas play prepared by volunteers and staff. In the late evening, our family will gather for a bonfire and roast marshmallows. Gathered together everyone will wait until the clock strikes midnight, when warm embraces and wishes of Feliz Navidad (Merry Christmas) will abound.
From our family to yours, we would like to wish everyone a joyous and very merry holiday season.