Amid extremely hard times, Colombians come together for Noche de Las Velitas

Holiday season officially begins in Colombia with Noche de Las Velitas
Holiday season officially begins in Colombia with Noche de Las Velitas

BOGOTA, Colombia – In Colombia, the holiday season officially begins Monday night.

The centuries-old lighting of the candle’s tradition brought much-needed hope to many during what has been a tough year for the region.

For Colombians in the country and the diaspora around the world, it’s one of the most beloved traditions as the Christmas season kicks off with the Noche de Las Velitas or Night of the Little Candles.

On store fronts, homes or gathered in the country’s main squares, candles and lanterns are put on display. It’s a tradition dating back to 1850, officially to honor the Virgin Mary on the eve of the immaculate conception.

Many families and couples gathered Monday night in Bogota’s main square.

Latin America’s economy is expected to experience record contraction this year as millions more are thrust into poverty.

On Monday, however, the family tradition provided familiar and inexpensive comfort for many in uncertain times.