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Argentine Christmas Traditions

We asked community leaders of various ethnic heritages to share some holiday traditions of their culture. Maria Paula Bozoklian shared the following which was written by Lucio García Carluccio.

Each country has its own set of particular religious customs and Argentina is not an exception. Gathering together with family and friends during the Christmas - is one such sacred tradition. Some say that Argentinians "live to eat", and I can personally assure you that among other things - this one, is one of the most truthful!

Let me clarify - we normally set up our Christmas tree and fill it up with beautiful ornaments, annually on December 8th. And as you imagine - we would then sit down to eat, but as if we were… in the Winter time! We have copied these customs from the Northern hemisphere, despite us having some of the highest weather temperatures at this time of the year!

Christmas decorations in front of the Obelisk in Buenos Aires

Christmas decorations in front of the Obelisk in Buenos Aires

So without further delay, let me share some of the tastiest dishes that we, Argentinians, like to serve around Christmas:


This is the main national specialty. The recipe's meat usually comes from a cow, but we also like to use pork or a piglet (we call it "lechón"), lamb or chicken. The meat would normally be roasted outdoors, on a grill. The main seasoning is called "chimichurri" and it contains garlic, parsley, chili pepper, oregano, pepper, vinegar, water and oil. And, of course, bread would never be left out of the company.

Vitel Toné

This is a thin slice of beef, known as "peceto", commonly seasoned with celery, bay leaf, anchovies, tuna, milk cream, mustard, mayonnaise, vinegar, salt, pepper and garlic.

Fiambre "Primavera" or Torre de Panqueques

This dish looks very similar to a layered pancake cake, though it's made with a lot of… mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato, chicken, ham, cheese, (not hot) red pepper and olives.

Sweet-scented "Pionono"

The dough here is similar to that of a sponge cake. Though it includes cheese, avocado, boiled eggs, non-spicy peppers, tomatoes, lettuce and tuna, all wrapped in mayonnaise.

Stuffed Eggs

These boiled eggs would be carefully cut in half, avoiding damaging the whites. The yolks would be then mixed with meat paté and mayonnaise, and garnished with olives.

Vinaigrette / "Escabeche"

The vinaigrette is a type of sauce characterized by its acid content. It's usually vinegar or a lemon juice plus oil, seasoned with different spices. The escabeches are vegetables or different meat bites, which were marinated for a long time in the vinaigrette.

The Russian Salad

Yes, you read that right - the Russian! The salad normally consists of potatoes, carrots, peas, boiled eggs, and some other boiled vegetables. It's usually served cold and is covered with a thick layer of mayonnaise.

Fruit "Salad"

After the roasted meat, this salad would be commonly served as a dessert. It's made of small chunks of fruits, mixed in a large container with water, sugar and juice from the same fruits (plus a bit of lemon juice to preserve it better). It can have apples, oranges, pears, bananas, pineapples, strawberries, cherries, or peaches. Sometimes it would also be accompanied with ice cream.

A Frozen Cake

There are people who prefer dough on all occasions. This is a biscuit-style cake, made with different layers of ice cream.

Mantecol and garrapiñadas

To finish the evening, Argentinians would usually serve mantecol, which is similar to peanut butter, though it's made in a solid bar form, as well as garrapiñadas, the candied almonds.

The "Picada"

It's usually served as an appetizer, right before "asado". These are the salty cheeses served with pork "chorizos" or sausages (the latter would be dried for months prior to intake) and bread, of course.


There are a lot of Italian descendants here, hence why Argentinians love to eat numerous pastas with different sauces, though with a lot of grated salted cheese. The pizzas too, of course, however we like them… cold!

Guiso/EstofadoAs history would have it, our country was mainly settled by Spanish immigrants. That's why we have this dish. It's a kind of paella though with cow meat instead of fish. And there actually two versions: Guiso which uses pasta and rice, and Estofado which contains vegetables. They're both mixed with tomato juice.

I hope you enjoyed these delicious dishes from my beloved homeland, Argentina. Merry Christmas to all!

Nativity scene in Buenos Aires (1924)

Nativity scene in Buenos Aires (1924)

Back to Ethnic Holiday Traditions


Songs from Argentina at One World Day

Soprano Alejandra Martinez performed songs from Argentina accompanied by a piano in the Greek Cultural Garden as part of the 67th annual One World Day in the Cleveland Cultural Gardens.

More Argentine music from One World Day.

Revolución de Mayo Picnic

The May Revolution (Spanish: Revolución de Mayo) was a week-long series of revolutionary events that took place from May 18 to May 25, 1810, in Buenos Aires. It started the Argentine War of Independence, and it is considered the birth of modern Argentina.

In the present, it is a big Holiday for all Argentines. Here in Cleveland, a picnic was held on Saturday May 24 at 12pm at North Chagrin Reservation. Thanks to Ambassador Maria Paula Bozoklian for the photos.

Cleveland Argentines at picnic for the May Revolution

Cleveland Argentines at picnic for the May Revolution

Cleveland Argentines at picnic for the May Revolution

Cleveland Argentines at picnic for the May Revolution

Cleveland Argentines at picnic for the May Revolution

Cleveland Argentines at picnic for the May Revolution

Cleveland Argentines at picnic for the May Revolution

Argentines at Cleveland International Film Festival

Ambassador Maria Paula Bozoklian sent this photo of Argentines in Cleveland supporting an Argentine movie, In The Clouds, with the director Marcelo Mitnik at Cleveland International Film Festival.

Argentines in Cleveland supporting an Argentine movie, In The Clouds, with the director Marcelo Mitnik at Cleveland International Film Festival

Argentines in Cleveland at CIFF


Argentine Tango and Milonga in Cleveland

Brian James and his wife Galina from Tango Apasionado (Passion of Tango) performed a traditional Argentine Tango and Milonga dance at the 4th annual Worldwide Intercultural Network (WIN) holiday celebration of global diversity at the Ariel International Center in Cleveland.

traditional Argentine Tango and Milonga dance

traditional Argentine Tango and Milonga dance

See other performances and more from the WIN celebration

Young Argentine girl at the La Sagrada Familia Latin Festival

Young Argentine girl at Cleveland La Sagrada Familia Latin Festival

Picnics at North Chagrin and Headlands Park

A group of Argentines living in Cleveland got together June 22nd at North Chagrin Reservation and June 23rd at Headlands Park for a picnic and camaraderie.

Thanks to Maria Paula Bozoklian for sharing these photos.

Cleveland Argentine group

Cleveland Argentine group

Cleveland Argentine group

Cleveland Argentine group - Headlands Beach

Organizations and Resources for Argentines in Cleveland

If you are an Argentine living in Cleveland, please contact us and we will connect you with the private Facebook page and other Argentines in the area.

Business, Education and Employment Information

El Obelisco

Obelisco de Buenos Aires

The Obelisk of Buenos Aires is a national historic monument and icon of Buenos Aires. Located in the Plaza de la República, in the intersection of avenues Corrientes and 9 de Julio, it was built to commemorate the fourth centenary of the first foundation of the city.

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Cleveland Argentine Feedback and Memories

Submit your Cleveland Argentine Feedback and Memories.

Argentine History and Culture

The Motto of Argentina is "En unión y libertad" or "In Unity and Freedom"

José de San Martín

José de San Martín was an Argentine general and the prime leader of the southern part of South America's successful struggle for independence from the Spanish Empire.

Tell us about the music, food, holidays, traditions, costumes, language and other qualities that make Argentina and Argentines so special.

Friend's Day

In Argentina, Dr. Enrique Ernesto Febbraro, a native of Lomas de Zamora, professor of psychology, philosophy, and history, musician, dentist, and founder of the Rotary Clubs of San Cristóbal and Balvanera in Buenos Aires, created Friend's Day after sending four thousand letters to a hundred countries around the world (to which he received 700 replies) upon realizing that, by watching the Apollo 11 landing, for the first time all mankind was united.

The first official recognition of the day came from the government of Buenos Aires Province with Decree 235/79, which authorized the celebration and made it official.

In Argentina, Friend's Day is often a good excuse for a friendly gathering and greeting both current and old friends. Since it is not an Argentine public holiday, people tend to gather during the evening.

Friend's Day has in recent years turned into a very popular mass phenomenon. In 2005, the amount of well-wishing friends led to a temporary breakdown of the mobile phone network in the cities of Buenos Aires, Mendoza, Córdoba and Rosario, comparable to the one experienced in 2004 on Christmas and New Year's Day. Seats in most restaurants, bars, and other establishments are often completely booked a week before the celebration.


In 1816, the United Provinces of the Rio Plata declared their independence from Spain. After Bolivia, Paraguay, and Uruguay went their separate ways, the area that remained became Argentina.

The country's population and culture were heavily shaped by immigrants from throughout Europe, with Italy and Spain providing the largest percentage of newcomers from 1860 to 1930. Up until about the mid-20th century, much of Argentina's history was dominated by periods of internal political conflict between Federalists and Unitarians and between civilian and military factions.

After World War II, an era of Peronist populism and direct and indirect military interference in subsequent governments was followed by a military junta that took power in 1976. Democracy returned in 1983 after a failed bid to seize the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) by force, and has persisted despite numerous challenges, the most formidable of which was a severe economic crisis in 2001-02 that led to violent public protests and the successive resignations of several presidents.

In January 2013, Argentina assumed a nonpermanent seat on the UN Security Council for the 2013-14 term.

(facts courtesy of CIA World Fact Book)

Map of Argentina

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Profiles of Argentine Americans in Cleveland and Northeast Ohio

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ClevelandPeople.Com - Argentine Ambassadors

Maria Paula Bozoklian
Maria Paula Bozoklian

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