For Christmas time I’m posting a special Christmas interview. Karolina Rivera-Osorio is a very talented young artistic soul from USA. She sings, plays several instruments and dances. As her mom comes from Honduras, I asked her to say a few words about celebrating Christmas there. We talk also about Christmas carols, dishes and a good way to truly experience the Christmas joy.
Remote Talk: Your mom comes from Honduras. How does celebrating Christmas in Honduras look like? Could you say a few words about Honduran Christmas traditions?
Karolina Rivera-Osorio: It’s a very special day where people prepare large home meals, sometimes simple because the majority of the people are poor, but the love which they put into the meal makes it a very special event comparable to Thanksgiving in America. The one dish that is always available on all the tables, regardless of being poor or rich, is the famous tamales, which is like a baked moist corn bread filled which chicken or pork, potatoes, rice, raisin, peas, and chick peas covered with plantain leaves and then boiled so that it can become one conglomerate piece. It is served with salad on the side with onion or cabbage salad on the side and the people love eating it with ketchup. Eggnog with rum is always available, they call it “rom poppe” and of course, “orchata” for the children, which is a delicious juice made from rice water. Also, the children go crazy with the parents buying fireworks which sometimes gets confused with actual gun shots, which is not safe to stay outdoors. This is why authorities usually tell us to stay inside when watching the spectacle of the fireworks.
What about other Christmas dishes in Honduras?
As I said, tamales is one of the main dishes. Others are baked chicken, fried pork with yuca, cole slaw, and sea food.
And do you have your favourite Christmas dishes (Honduran or American)?
Tamales are a definitely a family favorite.
Let’s move to USA. In general, do Americans treat Christmas mostly as nice holidays, a chance to spend time together, eat something good and exchange gifts? Or do they still remember what these days are really about? What do you think?
Americans treat Christmas very commercially. Very few remember that Christmas is about Christ, but they still get carried over with gift exchange and opulent parties, forgetting the true meaning of the celebration.
What is Christmas for you? What do you like most about it?
Christmas is the birthday of Christ and it is all about being with family physically and spiritually.
You’re an artistic soul. You sing, play the guitar and the violin. Do you sing carols (and maybe play instuments) with your family on Christmas?
I don’t sing carols in public as I ought to, except on Christmas day when we are all together. All throughout the Advent season my sisters and I will sing a random Christmas tune, the others might follow or we end up laughing because we dont know all the lyrics to the song. It’s all in the spirit of Christmas!
Which carols are your favourite ones?
It’s so difficult to choose one song! I would say there is a tie between three traditional songs, “The Carol of Bells,” “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” and “The Little Drummer Boy.” The first song is beautiful in melody, the second helps me meditate joyfully on the story of Christ being born. The third song makes me tear everytime I sing it. I place myself in the shoes of the little drummer boy as a musician. The little drummer boy has nothing of value to give God, except the talent which was given to him by the One whom he is about to play for. There is a great humility in this song that reminds me to never be afraid to give glory to God through my music.
And have you ever played in a nativity play?
When I attended Catholic school as a child, often times we were asked to participate in the Christmas shows. There was one nativity scene in my church that brought in live barn animals while my classmates and I sang as angels in the background. The baby Jesus even fell asleep to our singing. It was a wonderful experience!
If you could share a little of your personal experience, what would you say to those who want to really feel the atmosphere of Christmas and the joy coming from the birth of Baby Jesus? What advice would you give them?
Go to the nearest Catholic church and go to the Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. You will truly experience the birth of Christ there. If you want to feel the coming of Christ, you must prepare your heart and soul by helping others, going to holy mass and going to the sacrament of confession. The birth of Christ reminds us that we are so loved by God, He sent his only begotten son to save you. When Christ was born, He did not choose to be born in a palace with the finest linens as a rightful king deserves. He chose to be born in a humble stable that was not perfect in any way, yet in the same way, our hearts are not perfect, but as long as we welcome Christ humbly into our hearts, He will never say no to dwelling in your humble heart. Our greatest joy is knowing that our Lord is a Humble, Loving and Merciful King.
Thank you very much for the talk and thank your Mom for her stories about Honduran Christmas 🙂
by Łukasz Garbol, Christmas 2016
Photos from Karolina’s archives, used by her permission. All photo copyrights belong to their respective owners.
Do you have any interesting Christmas traditions in your countries / regions? Would you like to share how you celebrate Christmas? I invite you to comment below 🙂