Spend Christmas in Timor Leste

Christmas is an important time for Timorese people. From religion to family parties that can last until the next morning, Christmas is a time in which the island is all about celebrating. The importance of celebrating Christmas goes beyond religious reasons as Catholicism was highly associated with anticolonial movements that freed the country from Indonesian domination in 2002. Because of this, Catholicism plays a big role in the country’s ethics and traditions. Even though being an “imported” holiday, the celebrations in Timor-Leste are quite unique and meaningful. They represent a mix of Western celebrations with local culture and traditions. This aspect makes Christmas in Timor-Leste unique and an experience that is different from anything you’ve tried before. Keep on reading this blog to find out more about Christmas traditions in Timor and some of our delicious typical dishes. Come and spend Christmas in Timor Leste!

Timor-Leste’s Christmas Tradition

For starters, there is no snow for Christmas in Timor-Leste! Temperatures in the country are higher than 30 degrees Celsius in December. You also won’t find many Christmas lights lining the streets. Most traditions revolve around family, food, and religion rather than shopping and decorations. However, the holiday is as cozy as anywhere in the world– the Timorese people are very welcome and love to make visitors feel at home. Even though there are not a lot of Christmas lights, Timorese do appreciate decorations, for example, every village and city will have their own nativity scene put together by locals. 

Christmas in Timor-Leste traditions, food, and family

The celebrations start on the 24th of December where friends and family will get together to decorate their house and socialize. This is followed by a Christmas mass finishing around midnight when people go back home to eat, open gifts and party. Christmas celebrations can last until 7am for some families. Even though food with Portuguese, Indonesian and Indian roots are very common, traditional Timorese dishes are very popular amongst most families. Check out some of our typical dishes most consumed during the holidays. 

Timorese Christmas Food

Christmas in Timor-Leste traditions, food, and family

  • Kué Rambu – local cake made from filtered rice flour and  fried in oil. It is usually served side by side with tea or coffee to visiting guests.
  • Ikan tunu- Traditional grilled fish prepared with local seasonings.
  • Manu lalar – Traditional grilled chicken prepared with local seasonings
  • Fahi lalar – Traditional grilled pork prepared with local seasonings
  • Katupah – delicious aromatic coconut rice in woven palm leaf pouch
  • Tukir – stew meat cooked inside bamboo
  • Midar-si’in berinjela – sweet & sour eggplant

Come see us and learn more about our traditions

Are you curious about other traditions from Timor Leste? Come spend time with us in Ataúro and we can show you an amazing time full of cultural activities. If you are looking for an unique authentic experience we can recommend you stay in one of our guesthouses where you’ll interact with locals and try traditional timorese food. Contact us for more information on [email protected]. Check our website and start planning your trip today!

atauro island, atkoma, Celebrating, Christmas, food, tourism development, tourism management, travel

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