Guest Blog: Three Hispanic Christmas Traditions to Share With your Non-Hispanic Roommate

by Tokyo Garza

A student at Dallas Baptist University, NHCLC’s Premier Education Sponsor and member of the Alliance for Hispanic Education

As Christmas draws near, many are eager to share their family Christmas traditions with their friends. With Christmas being celebrated in many different parts of the world, many traditions have come about to showcase the joy that comes with the Christmas season. Every culture has its own beautiful Christmas traditions, but I want to highlight some of the awesome traditions celebrated in Hispanic culture with your non-Hispanic roommate in mind. The best part? These traditions are minimalistic and inexpensive.

The Posada

One of the most prevalent Hispanic traditions is the Posada and  has been going on for over 400 years!. Posada translates to “Inn” or “Lodge,” and represents the time when Mary and Joseph were looking for a place to give birth to Jesus. Traditionally, a posada is a nine-day celebration from December 16th through the 24th, each day representing one month of ’s pregnancy, and features Mary and Joseph visiting  designated houses. When the actors visit each “inn” the residents respond to the couple with a song that acknowledges Mary and Joseph and then the residents allow the couple to take shelter. The actors visit one house per night during the nine-day celebration, and the last destination is usually a church.

But as most traditions in life, the Posada celebration has evolved over the years. For many today it is a one-night celebration of life, fellowship, family, friends, and the birth of Christ that includes a feast complete with tamales, menudo, pan dulce, Mexican Hot Chocolate (Chocolate Abuelita lovers, where you at!?), and many of the traditional end-of-the-year meals. When it comes to sharing this tradition with your roommate, if you don’t have a large feast, you can talk about the tradition over a good concha (or pan dulce of your choice) and Chocolate Abuelita!

Night of the Radishes

Who says we can’t take pumpkin carving to the next (but smaller) level!? An awesome tradition that takes place in Oaxaca, Mexico on December 23rd is what is known as Noche de Rábanos (“The Night of the Radishes”) and dates back to 1897. Search  “Night of the Radishes” images and you will find just how creative the people of Oaxaca are! You will find turkeys, complete villages, and even dragons made solely out of radishes. You and your roommate can purchase radishes for a pretty low price in most grocery stores, and chances are you already have the tools to make some awesome radish sculptures in your dorm. This calls for an epic radish sculpture battle with your roommates. Winner takes the last concha!

Rosca de Reyes

In Spain and many Latin American Countries exists the tradition of Día de los Reyes Magos, in English, “Three Kings Day,” which is celebrated on January 6th and stems from the tale of the three wise men Melchor, Gaspar, and Balthasar who traveled to meet and offer gifts to the Messiah. One of my favorite things about this tradition is the slicing of the Rosca de Reyes. The Rosca de Reyes, or “Kings Wreath,” looks like a giant bagel topped with candied fruit and a sweet crumbling white or pink topping with a baby Jesus figurine baked into the Rosca.

Traditionally, a slice of Rosca is given to each guest and whoever receives the slice with the figurine inside  becomes the “godparent” of baby Jesus. In some homes, the “godparent” must then host a party, usually a tamalada, for friends and family on February 2nd. Nowadays a small Rosca de Reyes can be purchased for less than $25 between mid-December and early January. It’s a great Hispanic tradition to introduce to your roommate and also serves as a reminder to thank God for sending Jesus into the world.

Here at Dallas Baptist University, the Hispanic Student Union has been hosting events for Hispanics and non-Hispanics to come and enjoy time together and celebrate Hispanic culture, which usually includes pan dulce and Chocolate Abuelita! Finding a nice Christmas gift can be difficult for a lot of us, but each of us can offer the gift of time. I hope that we can take the time this Christmas season to truly reflect and be grateful for every blessing the Lord has given us: family, roommates, and  the traditions that allow us to learn about each other in a deeper sense.


Tokyo Garza

Tokyo is a Music Business major with an emphasis in Recording at Dallas Baptist University. He takes part in Chapel Worship at DBU and also leads worship at his local church. He aspires to be a continuous inspiration to his friends and family through his music, as well as bringing glory to God in everything he does.