November 28, 2022

Celebrating Day of the Little Candles

Learn more about this magical Colombian holiday!

3 minutes
Cultural exchange

One unique benefit of hosting an au pair is the opportunity to not only share your own traditions, but experience how other cultures celebrate their special days. Día de las Velitas, or the Day of the Little Candles, is one of the many global holidays that au pairs introduce to their host families. We’re excited to give you a first-hand glimpse into how host families are embracing these new traditions for years to come! 

Día de las Velitas is a popular Colombian holiday celebrated as the unofficial start to the Christmas season. On December 7th, or the eve of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary, families come together to show gratitude and joy around a special meal. While practices vary in different towns and regions of Colombia, it is traditional to display candles and colored lanterns outside your home. In Colombian cities like Bogota and Medellín, many gather to the see the spectacle of lights on this special night.  


“One of the most beautiful experiences we had was on Día de las Velitas, a Colombian holiday. It was very special to be able to share this with them and light candles in a very intimate moment. Even the dogs were part of it!”
—Laura, au pair Columbia

“The first day she asked to invite her au pair friends over and the second day we did a special family version for the kids. It was magical to see these au pairs sitting in a circle sharing their wishes and gratitude. We had so much fun celebrating this incredible holiday and I told Juli that for years to come we will continue this tradition.”
The Carbajal family in Texas  


The lighting of the candles and lanterns can symbolize different things, but for most, it’s a time to express good wishes and gratitude for all that one has received. For Colombian au pairs, sharing this tradition with their host families can make for some truly special moments.  


“There have been a couple occurrences of Mar sharing her culture with us, but the most memorable was when we celebrated Día de las Velitas. We wrote down wishes on paper boats and released them into the ocean. Our wishes came true later that night when Mar shared the exciting news that she was extending with us.”
The Aquart family in Florida 

“On this day, Ale made special Colombian foods for our family, and as part of the holiday’s tradition, we all lit 12 small candles. When we lit each candle, we each either said a wish or something we are grateful for. Our youngest son, Bowen, lit his first candle and said that he was grateful for Ale. It was such a special moment.”
The McDonald family in Massachusetts 



If you choose to welcome a Colombian au pair into your home, celebrating Día de las Velitas is an amazing opportunity to try traditional Colombian foods, experience new traditions, and make your au pair feel more at home. This holiday season, consider lighting up your home with this special holiday!