Most people in Hispanic countries are Catholic so the biggest holidays are religious. Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus and is spent with family. Christmas Eve is called “nochebuena” (“good night”) and ends with a Misa de Galla, or Midnight Mass. The poinsettia flower is typically associated with Christmas in Hispanic communities. Many countries also celebrate with fireworks and sparklers, as well as Christmas trees and presents.
Easter celebrates Jesus’ resurrection from the dead and ends Holy Week or Semana Santa. During this week there can daily processions or walks, sometimes with participants carrying wooden crosses, and often a full Passion Play which re-enacts the suffering Jesus went through before his death. In Spain parents give their children little figures carved out of chocolate on Easter Sunday.
Another well known Hispanic celebration is Dia de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead. This holiday is celebrated on November 2. Alters are built and the favorite foods, drinks, photographs and other items of dead relatives and friends are displayed. People do this because they hope for visits by the souls of these friends and relatives. Sugar skulls are common on Dia de los Muertos and so are chocolate coffins and skulls.