Christmas in New York City

Christmas is the world’s most popular Latin holiday. Preparations start in November. New Yorkers celebrate Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, & Three Kings Day.

New York City Ballet ‘George Balanchine The Nutcracker’

David H. Koch Theater
Lincoln Center
On Sale September, 2017
Friday November 24 – December 31, 2017

Radio City Rockettes Christmas Spectacular

Radio City Music Hall
1260 Sixth Ave at 50th St
Midtown, Manhattan
Friday, November 10, 2017 – January 1, 2018

38th Paul Winter’s Winter Solstice Celebration 2017

Cathedral of St. John the Divine
1047 Amsterdam Ave
between 110th & 113th St
Morningside Heights, Manhattan
Thursday – Saturday,
December 14 – 16, 2017

Willie Colón joins the 34th New York Salsa Festival at Barclays Center

Barclays Center
Prospect Heights, Brooklyn
Saturday, June 9, 2018

Chris Botti, Italian-American Jazz trumpeter to play Blue Note Jazz Festival

Sony Hall
Midtown, Manhattan
Sunday – Monday
June 24 – 25, 2018

Mariah Carey All I Want for Christmas is You

Beacon Theatre
2124 Broadway
between 74th & 75th
Upper West Side, Manhattan
Monday – Tuesday
December 4 – 5, 2017

Handel’s ‘Messiah’ at the New York Philharmonic and Trinity Church

Tuesday – Friday
December 12 – 15, 2017
Friday – Sunday
December 15 – 17, 2017

Orchestra of St. Luke’s Holiday Sing Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood tradition

DiMenna Center for Classical Music
450 West 37th Street
between Ninth & Tenth Ave
Hell’s Kitchen, Manhattan

Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra Big Band Holidays

Jazz at Lincoln Center
Time Warner Center
10 Columbus Circle
Lincoln Square
Wednesday – Sunday
December 13 – 17, 2017

Met Christmas Tree and Neapolitan Baroque Crèche

Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 Fifth Ave at 82nd St
Tuesday, November 21, 2017 – Sunday, January 7, 2018

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

Rockefeller Center
48th to 50th St
between Fifth & Sixth Ave
November 29, 2017
Sunday, January 7, 2018

18th Winter’s Eve at Lincoln Square 2017 is holiday fun for the entire family

Dante Park at Broadway & 63rd up Broadway to 70th St
Monday, November 27, 2017

New York City Ballet ‘George Balanchine The Nutcracker’

David H. Koch Theater
Lincoln Center
On Sale September, 2017
Friday November 24 – December 31, 2017

Macy’s is the world’s largest store

34th St & Broadway
Herald Square
Garment District, Manhattan

Lord & Taylor reveals its holiday windows

424 Fifth Avenue
between 38th & 39th St
Garment District, Manhattan
Thursday, November 9, 2017

Tiffany & Co. is the classic New York City jeweler

Midtown East
Rockefeller Center
Financial District

Bergdorf Goodman reveals its holiday windows

Fifth and 58th
Midtown, Manhattan
Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Bloomingdale’s reveals its Holiday Windows

Upper East Side
Upper West Side Outlet
Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Saks Fifth Avenue reveals its Holiday Windows

Midtown East
Battery Park City
Monday, November 20, 2017 – January 2, 2018

Barneys New York is New York Style

Madison (Upper East Side)
Broadway (Upper West Side)
Downtown (Chelsea)
Brooklyn (Cobble Hill)

Día de las Velitas is a Colombian Christmas tradition

Immaculate Conception Eve
December 7, 1854
Friday, December 7, 2018

Hanukkah is the Jewish Festival of Lights

Tuesday night
December 12 – Wednesday, December 20, 2017
Grand Army Plaza
Manhattan & Brooklyn

Macy’s is the world’s largest store

34th St & Broadway
Herald Square
Garment District, Manhattan


Giving Tuesday opens the season of philanthropy and charity

Tuesday after Thanksgiving
Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Advent is a four-week fasting period that is a countdown to Christmas

Sunday, December 2, 2018
Monday, December 24, 2018

Día de las Velitas is a Colombian Christmas tradition

Immaculate Conception Eve
December 7, 1854
Friday, December 7, 2018

La Novena de Navidad is a Colombian / Ecuadorian Christmas Tradition

Saturday – Sunday
December 16 – 24, 2017

Three Kings Day (Dia de Los Reyes) is the Hispanic Christmas

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Meet the Three Kings at Teatro SEA’s Three Kings Day and receive a gift

107 Suffolk St #202
Lower East Side
Saturday, January 6, 2018

41st El Museo del Barrio Three Kings Day Parade

106th & Lexington
to La Marqueta at
115th St & Park Ave
East Harlem, Manhattan
FRIDAY, January 5, 2018

Christmas as we know it today is a blend of Ancient, Roman, Nordic, English, New York, and purely commercial traditions. From its very beginning, Christmas blended religious with popular traditions.

The Winter Solstice and Ancient Holidays

The longest nights and shortest days of the year in the Northern Hemisphere have been a time of celebration since before history.

The longest night is the Winter Solstice. It falls somewhere between December 21st and 23rd.

It was a time of feasting because animals were slaughtered to avoid feeding them over the winter, and the year’s beer and wine were ready for drinking. There was less work to do in the dark and cold. The availability of meat and alchohol fueled a winter party.

Roman Holidays

Romans honored Saturn, their god of agriculture, with a month-long Saturnalia festival around the winter solstice. Like the later Carnival, it was a time when social roles were reversed and standards of behavior were loosened. Work and study stopped. Slaves, women, and peasants were allowed more freedom. Some Romans celebrated the birth of Mithra, a Persian sun god popular with warriors, on December 25th.

The Beginning of Christmas

The Christmas tradition started in Italy to celebrate the birth of Christ. It was Pope Julius I (337-352, Rome) who decided to celebrate on December 25. It was celebrated with a mass as in Christ-mass. Pope Julius I probably chose the date to bring existing Roman celebrations into the church.

Once started, Christmas traditions began spreading around the world. Early traditions focused on the nativity, the birth of Christ in a manger or animal shed.

The Feast of the Epiphany, or Three Kings Day, was also important. The feast celebrates the revealing of Christ as the son of God. The celebration is popularly expressed through stories of the Three Kings’ visit to the baby Jesus.

Popular Traditions Get Out of Hand

Christmas became more popular in Europe as Christianity replaced Pagan religions. Already, popular traditions dominated. Christians would go to mass and then join a drunken party. Mobs of the poor would visit homes of the rich and demand to be fed. If they weren’t, they might riot.

These popular traditions came to the Americas with the English. The early 1800s were a time of social turmoil which added to the intensity of Christmas riots.

A New Yorker Invents Ancient Traditions

Washington Irving is famous for writing a purely fictional satire A History of New York under the pen name “Diedrich Knickerbocker” in 1809. Some newly rich New Yorkers took it so seriously that they claimed to be Knickerbocker descendants. Irving did something similar for Christmas.

In 1819-1820, Irving published a collection of short stories called The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent.. It contains the now popular stories of Rip Van Winkle and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. It also includes several stories about the celebration of Christmas at an old English manor.

Instead of a class riot, Irving painted a picture of harmonious ancient customs that brought the social classes together. Irving was one of the first American writers to be widely read in Europe. People began thinking that this was how Christmas should be celebrated.

A Christmas Carol

Charles Dickens’ 1848 novella, A Christmas Carol, built on Irving’s and other stories to reinforce this message of peace on earth and goodwill to men.

Concepts of Christmas continued to evolve. Christmas became a federal holiday in 1870. New York City merchants adapted the traditions and created new ones to help sell stuff.

Something for Everyone

The Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s encouraged ethnic groups to be proud of their heritage. That led to the promotion of Hanukkah and Kwanzaa as community alternatives to Christmas.

Because Latins are made up of all peoples, we have been contemplating the various holiday celebrations for some years now. We find that each has something to give.

Whatever the holidays mean to you and your family, New York is one of the greatest places in the world to celebrate it.

Happy Holidays !



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