How is Christmas Celebrated in Mexico?

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Christmas in Mexico is a month-long holiday, much like winning an Everygame casino login jackpot. Mexicans take Christmas celebrations seriously and do everything that they can to integrate the holiday’s religious significance into celebrations that combine Spanish and indigenous cultures. If you’re looking for a spirited Christmas experience, consider a visit to Mexico!

Christmas History in Mexico

Christmas was celebrated by Spanish settlers in Mexico but the practice started to spread when Fray Pedro De Gante, a Franciscan priest, introduced Christmas to some locals as part of his work as a missionary.

The practice spread and Christian converts started to combine European Christmas traditions with their own cultural celebrations. Today, Mexican Christmas celebrations are a combination of Spanish, English, and indigenous traditions. The celebrations begin on December 12th and end on January 6th.

Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe

December 12th is known as the Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe (Dia de la Virgin de Guadalupe). On this day, pilgrims travel to the Basilica of Guadalupe to visit the Virgen Morena – the Virgin Mary. The basilica is located in the heart of Mexico City and the celebration commemorates the appearance of Mary to Juan Diago, a Mexican peasant, in 1531.

This feast day is an important holiday in Mexico and is celebrated by Mexicans in other parts of the world as well. On the Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe, there are parades, fireworks, and live musical performances throughout the country. Mexicans prepare buñuelos, a popular Christmastime food, or buy it from street vendors, as they kick off the Christmas season.

Posadas

Las Posadas are processions that occur between December 16 – 24 in towns and cities throughout Mexico. These processions re-enact Mary and Joseph’s search for shelter on their journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem as they prepare for Jesus’s birth.  According to the gospels, they were forced to seek shelter in a stable where Jesus was born.

During Las Posadas season, every evening, a small child dressed as an angel leads the procession through the streets. The child is followed by other children who are dressed in gold and silver robes and who carry images of Mary and Joseph riding a donkey and lit candles.

Musicians and other adults follow the children as they visit various homes and ask for lodging for Mary and Joseph. According to tradition, the procession is refused lodging at each house but refreshments are served to the procession by the homeowners. At each stop, Christmas carols are sung and passages of scripture are read.

Every day during Los Posadas a mass is held. After the service concludes, children break open piñatas, which are shaped in the form of a star, filled with toys, candy, and other gifts – the star shape indicates the star that is said to have guided the 3 Wise Men to the stable after Jesus’s birth.

Nacimientos

From December 16 and throughout the ensuing Christmas season many Mexican families place elaborate Nativity scenes in and around their homes. During the 10 days of Nacimientos, different characters are added to the display. Jesus is placed in the cradle on Christmas Eve and on Christmas Day,  the Three Wise Men are added.

In addition to the Nacimientos at people’s homes, replicas of the manger, animals, shepherds, Joseph and Mary and Jesus are placed in town centers around the country.

Nochebuena

Nochebuena, Christmas Eve, is celebrated on the evening of December 24th. Nochebuena means “good night” and it always refers to Christmas Eve in Mexico. As in other Catholic nations, families attend midnight mass together and have a family dinner when they return home. Poinsettia flowers (Flores de Nochebuena) are a traditional symbol of Christmas and are placed in homes and in public areas. Fireworks are common.

Navidad

Christmas Day, Navidad, is the “Nativity”, the birth of Jesus. It’s celebrated similarly to other areas of the world with families gathering together for a holiday feast and sharing of small gifts. Many families serve traditional Mexican foods for Navidad including Turrón, Lambs, Galets, Roscón de Reyes, Polvorónes and Mantecados, and Marzipan.

Pastorelas, theatrical productions about the shepherds’ journey to see the newborn baby Jesus., are often put on in families and portray the various obstacles – devils, angels, etc – that stood in the path of the characters in the Christmas Story and that may be standing in our paths today. One favorite song sung on Navidad is “The Fishes in the River” (Los Peces en el Río), a song unique to Mexican culture.

Dia de los Santos Inocentes

Dia de Los Santos Inocentes is observed on December 28th and commemorates Matthew’s account of the order by King Herod 1 the Great to slaughter all children under the age of 2 who were born in Bethlehem. According to Matthew, Herod received a prophecy of Jesus’s birth and wanted to get rid of him.

Different Churches in Mexico celebrate Dia de Los Santos Inocentes differently but in general, it’s a day on which food and gifts are offered to the baby Jesus. Traditions have also arisen, as in other areas of Latin America, in which people play practical jokes on each other.

Dia de Los Tres Reyes Magos

Dia de Reyes is Three Kings’ Day, also called Epiphany Day. On this day, children in Mexico receive gifts to symbolize those brought by the Three Wise Men.

People gather to share a sweet bread baked in the shape of a wreath called “Rosca de Reyes.”  Baby Jesus figurines are hidden inside the wreath. The person who finds the figurine in his/her Rosca de Reyes is expected to host the Dia de la Candelaria party on February 2.

Dia de la Candelaria

Dia de la Candelaria marks the end of the Christmas season in Mexico. People take their Jesus figurines to church to receive a blessing and then families and friends gather for a feast at the home of the person who found the baby Jesus inside the Rosca de Reyes. Tamales are the traditional food for Dia de la Candelaria.


Dia de la Candelaria marks the end of the Christmas season in Mexico. People take their Jesus figurines to church to receive a blessing and then families and friends gather for a feast at the home of the person who found the baby Jesus inside the Rosca de Reyes. Tamales are the traditional food for Dia de la Candelaria.