NOCHEBUENA

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Christmas Eve is known as "Nochebuena" (the Good Night). It is a time for family members to gather together to rejoice and feast around the Nativity scenes that are present in nearly every home. The Christmas Eve gaiety is interrupted at midnight by the ringing of bells calling the families to "La Misa Del Gallo" (Rooster's Mass).

Christmas dinner is often eaten late at night, but before midnight on Christmas Eve so that families may attend mass. It is a family feast, and often highlighted with "Pavo Trufado de Navidad" (Christmas turkey with truffles; truffles are a mushroom-like delicacy found underground). After the meal, family members gather around the Christmas tree and sing Christmas carols. The celebrations usually go on very late, one old Spanish verse says...

          "Esta noche es Noche-Buena, Y no es noche de dormir"
          (Tonight is the goodnight,and it is not meant for sleeping.)

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