Novena of Aguinaldos, also known as the novena ("Ninth to Baby Jesus" in Colombia), is a set of prayers recited during the nine days before Christmas, custom to Catholics in Colombia and Ecuador. It is similar to the feast of Las Posadas in Mexico. Today, the novena is often a social event where families and friends pray, eat, and sing villancicos (Christmas carols) together.
The novena was created by Fray Frnando Larrea Jesus, born in Quito, Ecuador in 1700, who after his ordination in 1725 was a preacher in Ecuador and Colombia. Fray Fernando wrote it at the request of the founder of the School of Teaching in Bogotá, Mrs. Clemencia Caycedo Jesus Velez. Many years later, a nun in the 1800s from the same Catholic school, Sister María Ignacia, modified the Novena de Aguinaldos. She added “Los Gozos,” which is best described as a couplet of the aspirations for the coming of the Christ Child. “Loz Gozos” are the verses that all participants pray at the end of the daily and the specific day prayers. To many, this is the best part of the Novena where everyone sings and plays their instruments (even homemade ones). Many times people participate with guitars, piano, harp, or any other instrument. The Novena was created with the purpose of praising the Lord and celebrating the birth of Jesus. In many towns and neighborhoods, priests call upon their communities to gather at church to pray the Novena which includes participants dressed up as Joseph, Mary, Baby Jesus and the animals that are included in the nativity.
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