Christmas and New Year’s traditions in Bogotá: aguinaldos


Christmas is always the best time in Bogotá: everything gets brighter and people are happier. We enjoy time with family and friends, we eat tons of delicious food, and we play some games as well. One of the most traditional games played during festivities in Bogotá is called Aguinaldos. Keep reading to know more about it.

If you search for “Aguinaldo” on Google, it will tell you that it is some sort of bonus that workers receive on Christmas. While that definition is related to the game (because players do get a small prize if they win, like candy or an invitation to dinner), here in Bogotá, everyone knows Aguinaldos as the group of games usually played between two or more people that consist of temporary rules players agree upon. It can be played anytime, anywhere, and is between two people or more (even ten and up). The objective of the game, besides the small prize, is to have fun, enjoy the festivities, and keep traditions, just like this one, alive.

How to play Aguinaldos

There are no absolute rules in Aguinaldos. Each game has its own unique rules that players decide beforehand. They can be stupid or serious but funny, but always keep in mind that this game is for people to have fun, not to suffer or to be ridiculed. There are, however, some basic things players must take into account when playing any Aguinaldo:

  • Always be aware of your language and your movements; Aguinaldos focuses on details that might prevent us from doing things that we normally do (like not saying a specific word or not crossing your legs).
  • Players decide the length of the game and how many rounds it’s going to have, and so when a player forgets about a rule and others notice, he/she loses one point
  • When a player has no points, he/she has to give the others the gift they agreed upon or pay a penance (this might vary depending on the rules)
  • When a player exposes another, he/she should shout to the loser “mis aguinaldos” (if you don’t say it, then it doesn’t count)

Examples of Aguinaldos

There are several games of Aguinaldos, here are the most common:

  1. Beso robado:

The objective is to try to avoid other players from stealing a kiss from you. So be aware whenever someone tries to get too close. If you let another player kiss you, then you lose a point. It’s fun to play this in the office or with your family.

  1. Tres pies:

If you let another player put a foot between your feet, you lose a point. Be alert all the time, in anything you do (walking, eating, etc.). This could last for a couple of hours or even days.

  1. Dar y no recibir:

The purpose is to try to deliver something to the competitor and he/she must refrain from receiving it. The players take advantage of the best opportunities to offer all kinds of gifts and objects and demonstrate the weakness of the opponent, who can become a loser if he forgets the deal and accepts the items.

  1. Sí y no:

Some players are banned from saying the word “no” and others from saying “yes,” so when you are speaking you should be aware and think before saying anything. If you use the prohibited word, you lose a point.

  1. Pajita en la boca:

This one is ideal to play in a big group. Everyone should have something in their mouth all the time, whether it’s a piece of straw, a piece of candy, gum, or anything. If someone has nothing in his/her mouth and is discovered by another player, then he/she loses a point.

Truth is, we have fun at Christmas, and Aguinaldos or agüeros (read my article New Year’s Eve Traditions in Bogotá: Agüeros to find out more) is a  testament to that. Always remember that these are innocent games that should cause no harm whatsoever to anyone. You can be creative with the rules and the prizes, but everyone that’s playing should agree and be aware of it. Aguinaldos adds tons of fun and positive energy at Christmas, so what are you waiting for!?

For other fun Christmas traditions in Colombia, read our article about our own version of April’s fool here.

Was this article useful? Do you know more cool information about Christmas traditions in  Bogotá? Or maybe an experience you would like to share? Please share and/or comment on this article, and visit our homepage Colture to take a look at my articles and many others to find more essential information about Bogotá before or during your trip.

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