Monday, January 4, 2016

Feliz Navidad and a Happy New Year!

I wasn't really sure what to expect when it came to spending the Holidays in Honduras.  Not only was I unsure of the customs, but I wasn't sure where I would be and who I would be with!  I ended up staying in Siguatepeque because I didn't have much time off school (I had two four day weekends though, which was nice!).

On the 23rd my church had a special Christmas service with a Christmas message and special presentations from the children.

The 24th is the "big day" of Christmas in Honduras as the women of the house spend the day making food for the midnight feast that is a tradition here.  Along with the midnight feast there are also midnight fireworks!  I spent most of my day at the house, which was nice as it gave me a change to cook, videochat, and relax, however, I also had the opportunity to go to my teacher's house for the afternoon.  She and her family taught me how to make a form of empanadas that are traditional in their family for Christmas.  They are filled with a (sweet) mixture of pork, green plantain, and potatos, and dipped in sugar before baking.  I was, sadly, not very good at getting the edges right, but it was fun to try!

That night I went back to the house and made my grandma's recipe for goulash and talked with my mom online.  I thought about going to bed early, but I decided to stay up and see the fireworks.  We had been hearing/seeing fireworks and firecrackers for weeks, but I was amazed at how many went off at midnight!  It was so cool to see how Hondurans celebrate the birth of the King with fireworks!
The next day was spent at the house of fellow students eating lots of food and playing spoons.  It was fun to spend time speaking English and getting to know everyone better.  

On Saturday I went to Cane, La Paz and to Comayagua with another student, a missionary from my mission, two teachers, and some friends.  We had a lot of fun visiting the new statue of Jesus and touring the cathedral in Comayagua, which is home to the oldest clock in Latin America.

By New Years the lady I live with was back, and most of her children, their spouses, and their children came to spend New Years together.  We ate a very late (10:30pm) dinner and waited for the new year.  One of the special traditions here is "burning the old year", in which a scarecrow like thing is made representing the old year, and it's stuffed with old newspaper and firecrackers.  It is also celebrated with lots of fireworks!

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