**Every night for the nine nights before Christmas Colombians celebrate novenas, so I will be writing a blog post every day about Colombian Christmas traditions. Feliz Navidad!**
In Colombia, Christmas decorations, especially lights, are quite popular. From the end of November on, stores become filled with garlands, strands of lights, and ornaments for people to decorate their homes with. Colombians also buy artificial Christmas trees, as real pine trees are hard to come by.
December 7, La Noche de Las Velitas, is the official day to put up Christmas lights and decorations. Medellin and Bogotá especially go crazy with Christmas lights. This year Medellin had 16 million lights around the city, and Bogotá had 7 million. Both of the cities give tours so you can see all of the lights. Some people also put up lights in and around their homes, and many apartment buildings also decorate the outside.
Almost all Colombian homes will have a Christmas tree and a nativity scene, or pesebre. The nativity scene is especially important because during the novenas friends and families gather around it to sing villancicos and say prayers. However, Christmas trees have not always been a typical tradition in Colombian; this custom came over from the States. Also, people used to have live Christmas trees, but this is now illegal so as not to harm the environment.
Here is a video of the lights in Medellin: