As is normal in Guatemala, we had all the big Christmas celebrations on Christmas Eve, or La Nochebuena. The actual day of Christmas is low-key and usually spent sleeping in and relaxing. It kind of reminds me of New Year's: New Year's Eve is the big party. New Year's Day is the recovery.
After having mass in the afternoon, Christmas Eve festivities started off with La Pastorela -- an annual Christmas play that the volunteers put on for the kids. It's the nativity story -- but injected with humor. So, this year's Pastorela involved some reggaeton jams, some intense angel-devil dance-offs, and some poking fun at the kids.
The angel Gabriel speaks to Mary
The gang of devils try to sweet talk the shepherds.
Angels bust a move in the dance-off.
And the devils bust out sparklers!
And Wendy/Mary gives birth to the baby Jesus.
Following La Pastorela, we had a special Christmas dinner. The kitchen made a delicious feast of turkey, scalloped potatoes, stuffing, veggies, and dessert. It was heaven to the American volunteers, but it was a little too rich and a lot too foreign for most of the kids. About a dozen ended up puking outside the comedor, -- aw, hahaha.
Marta feeds the baby doll who played Baby Jesus, haha.
Yohana chows down. (She did not puke.)
The kids also got to take photos with Michael (a.k.a. Santa)!
HAHAHAHA, Bryan looks like he wants to murder Santa.
Group shot with Santa!
The rest of the night was then spent waiting for midnight -- and Christmas -- to arrive. The house built a huge bonfire, so kids spent the night playing music, roasting marshmallows and hot dogs, chatting by the fire, and running around like the little lunatics they are.
And more sparklers.
Me and Marta!
Me and Yohana!
Me and Sam!
Vilma and Yohana
At midnight, everyone set off fireworks! And in addition to our own little firework display, our location up on a hill let us look out at all the dozens of colorful firework shows popping up from the surrounding towns. An awesome Christmas view. In total New Year's style (see, I told you), at the stroke of midnight everyone also yelled Feliz Navidad! and then exchanged hugs with everyone else. Then as the party dwindled down, me and a bunch of exhausted girls headed back down to the section (and I had vela that night).
And the best Christmas present of all? We got to sleep in until 9 a.m. the next day! Feliz Navidad to us. :)