Explaining the celebration of Nochebuena

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- There are many holiday celebrations taking place this week, including Nochebuena, which translates into "good night."

Nochebuena is celebrated on Christmas Eve. While a lot of Americans celebrate Christmas Day as their big celebration of the season, many Catholic Latinos celebrate Nochebuena the day before.

The celebration consists of a feast, and for the more religious, it is when they recognize Jesus Christ as being born.

A posada, which translates to "lodging," is also a part of the celebration. It commemorates the journey of Mary and Joseph. What many families do is reminiscent of going caroling, reenacting Mary and Joseph's pilgrimage on the night of Christ's birth.

As is the case for any celebration this time of year, food is a major component of Nochebuena. The type of food eaten is regional, but some popular Mexican options include pozole, which is a hominy soup, tamales, pavo as well as ponche, a traditional hot fruit punch.

The night is concluded by breaking a piñata, to symbolize the breaking of sins. Falling candy represents the falling rewards from Heaven.

Nochebuena is symbolic and varies from family to family, as well as country to country.

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