Fiestas del mundo hispano
La Navidad: La Navidad (also known as ‘Las Pascuas’ in Spain, though this is very confusing to most Latin Americans who only associate ‘Pascuas’ with Easter) is an extremely important holiday in the Hispanic world.
There are a number of significant differences between the ways in which La Navidad is celebrated in Spain, and the way in which Christmas is celebrated in the United States. Many families still hold to the tradition that gifts are not exchanged on Christmas, but rather on the ‘Día de los Reyes’ (King’s Day) on January 6th (ie., the 12th day of Christmas…). See more here.
Ladino Hanukkah: Jews, Moors and Christians co-occupied the Iberian peninsula for centuries before the Moors and Jews were expelled in 1492 by Los reyes católicos. The Moors, of course, spoke primarily Arabic even while living on the Iberian peninsula, but the Jewish population largely spoke Spanish. When they were expelled, they carried 15th century Spanish with them to what is now Eastern Europe and North Africa, and they continue to speak what is now known as Ladino to this day. Listening and reading Ladino is a fun exercise. Follow this link to hear and read a couple of traditional Hanukkah songs in Ladino.
Cinco de mayo: Cinco de mayo is not Mexican Independence day as many people believe (Mexican Independence Day is September 15th). Rather, it celebrates the defeat of the French army at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862 by a Mexican army half the size of the invading force. Learn more here.