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Juegos del Aguinaldos – Games of the Novenas

” Juegos del Aguinaldos ” are games that some Colombian families play during the 9 evenings of the Novenas that lead up to and include Christmas eve.  They are not familiar to some Colombians but nonetheless are part of the Christmas traditions for others. The word ”Aguinaldos” actually is derived from Latin and it means compensation for an achievement attained. In this case, the winner(s) of these games are given a small gift for their success in winning the match.

There are a group of different games that can be played. Traditionally if one is with the same group of friends or family for the entire 9 days, then you can play a different game each night and keep tab of the points until Christmas Eve. If perchance you are with a group only one night then you can keep track of points just for that evening

Before you begin to play you need to pick sides or teams. Then you decide on what the prize will be for the winners and what will be the punishment for the losers. The Colombians have a saying – apostemos – which means to wager or bet. To do this you link you baby fingers and say apostemos. You do almost the same thing before you begin these games. This time you link the bay fingers and when you release them you shout, ”Mis Aguinaldos”

Rules of the Games

1) Al Sí y Al No

For this game one side agrees that they will answer only answer yes to all questions. The other group then must answer only no to any question. Once the game begins, if you get the other side to respond to a yes question, when their answer should be no or vice versa, you shout ”Mis Aguinaldos” and your side earns a point.

2) Beso Robado

This is a couples’ game. Each of you try to steal a kiss from the other. If your partner kisses you back you should, ”Mis Aguinaldos” and you earn a point.

3) Dar y No Recibir

This event entails some concentration at a Christmas party. One might go hungry if they are not careful. This game requires that you will not accept any given to you by the opposing side. If you receive something handed to you from the opposing team, they will shout ”Mis Aguinaldos” and they gain a point. This could be brutal if the other side has the appetizers. If no one accepts what ever is being passed around and it is set down, then it can be picked up by the other team.

4) Estatua

The aim of this little game is to surprise your opponent while they are in an awkward or ridiculous position to maintain. When you catch them, you command ”Estatua” . In English this would be statue but freeze would probably be a more appropriate command. They must hold this position until you release them otherwise you gain a point.

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5) Hablar y No Contestar

This little match will test your skills especially if you are enjoying some traditional Colombia beverages. Aguardiente is a classic Colombian anise flavoured ”firewater”. This contest requires you to try and lure your opponents into responding to your questions. If you do make certain that you shout ”Mis Aquinaldos” rather than ‘Mi Aguardiente” !

6) Pajita in Boca

The strategy of this event is to keep a straw in your mouth for the entire time of your social event, except while you are eating. You can agree to try and frighten your opponents by shouting ”Pajita en Boca” at any point in time. If your opponent or you drop your straw”, then the standard response of ”Mis Aguinaldos” is trumpeted by the triumphant party.

7) Tres Pies

This final activity requires you to keep your legs together the entire evening while you are standing. If an individual has their legs open then the opposing side can stick a foot between the opponent’s feet and exclaim ”Tres Pies, Mis Aguinaldos !”

On Christmas Eve the points are totalled, the prizes distributed and the punishments administered. Good luck!

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