Día de las Velitas

Tomorrow is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception in the Catholic calendar, which means that tonight in Colombia, they celebrate the Día (or Noche) de las Velitas. The customs differ slightly from region to region (and even from family to family), but everyone across the country will light candles, sometimes thousands of them all grouped together, often in little lanterns (either homemade or bought) and spend the evening together as a family, eating, dancing and celebrating late into the night.

Lighting lanterns on the Noche de las Velitas

This custom was central to My Christmas Number One from the earliest stages. The scene where Cara joins Javi’s family for the celebration was one of the pivotal ones around which the rest of the plot takes shape. And it was such a lovely scene to write, with so many emotions and nostalgia, so many hidden hurts beginning to be discovered or overcome and the acceptance and unquestionable welcome of one family to another. And it was only fitting that the night ends with their second kiss, where their relationship starts to take a serious turn.

A patio decorated with lanterns (which looks remarkably like Javi’s parents’ patio…)

Having this book out in the world on the Día de las Velitas this year is hugely exciting for me. I hope a few Colombians will discover the story that is a celebration of their culture. If you haven’t already, grab a copy of the book and travel to Barranquilla for the día de las velitas without leaving your sofa! I’ve recorded a short video with an excerpt if you want to scroll down.

Excerpt from the día de las velitas scene in My Christmas Number One

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