In Paraguay, one of the major family-related customs is that godparents are highly respected and carefully chosen. A majority of the population is Roman Catholic, and all major Christian holidays are celebrated with some distinct Paraguayan customs incorporated. Other important traditions revolve around handmade crafts and reinforcing Guarani, the country's indigenous language.
In Paraguayan culture, godparents are often people who are financially better off than the actual parents and are expected to help provide financial support to their godchildren. Christian holidays are major events in Paraguay, especially Christmas. During the Christmas season, it is traditional for families to put up nativity scenes in their homes and churches, and to spend time with extended family. On Christmas Eve, families stay up late preparing a festive meal to be enjoyed at midnight, served with clerico, a holiday drink similar to sangria.
Independence Day, celebrated on May 15, is a major national holiday commemorating the day Paraguay won its independence from Spain. Traditional festivities, including fireworks, parades and concerts, transpire over the course of two days. Paraguay is also extremely proud of its indigenous roots. Handmade crafts are an important part of maintaining the country's native Guarani heritage. Markets are filled with artisans crafting lace, embroidery, wood carvings, ceramic pottery and woven baskets. Speaking the Guarani language is a source of cultural pride and is taught in all schools.