Christmas in Mexico, is similar to the Christmas celebrations in Spain. One of the main celebrations is called 'La Posada' and the houses are mainly decorated with poinsettias, which are brilliant, star-shaped flowers in red. Several weeks before Christmas, the nation is elaborately festooned with markets, stalls, bedecked in lights and Christmas trees. Although one cannot witness snowfall during this time in Mexico, the spirit and the celebrations pertaining to the festival essentially remain the same. People travel from the remotest places of Mexico, to witness the grandeur of the festival and to get a glimpse of the Christmas city markets, gearing up for the hustle-bustle of the festive season. 'Puestos' or stalls are some of the most common sights at markets during Christmas. Everything, from cheese to cookies and crafts are available at these stalls. Poinsettias, being a native flower, are also sold in bundles during the festive season and carry a very important story with it. If you are already dazzled with a whiff of the Mexican Christmas experience, read on for more exciting information about Christmas in Mexico that will get you saying, 'Aye Carumba'!
Customs, Traditions And Celebrations
Christmas in Mexico is a jubilant affair. From tequila shots to the traditional roast pork, 'churros', and turkey tacos, people go all-out and become 'one' with the spirit of Christmas. It is also said that around the time of Christmas, the celebration coincided with the Mexico's ancient worship of the Sun God. During this time, the Aztecs celebrated this festival, praising him and his Virgin mother Goddess.
Apart from erecting Christmas trees and singing carols on the streets, there are a lot more native customs and traditions, which are followed during Christmas.
The Legend Of The Poinsettia
Poinsettias are native flowers and are usually red in color. These are believed to have been used in connection with Christmas in the 17th century. Like most legends, there is a story behind this flower too. It is said that a little boy called Pablo was walking from house to the church to witness the Nativity Scene being erected, when he realized that he had not carried a gift with him to present to Baby Jesus. At this point, he noticed a few green branches growing alongside the road and gathered a few of them. People noticed that the boy was plucking the branches and scoffed at him, but he collected the, regardless. Jubilant, he walked into the church and placed the branches next to baby Jesus, and miraculously, red, star-shaped flowers began to bloom. Thus, the Poinsettias were born, and have been used during Christmas in Mexico every year.
9 days before Christmas, the procession of 'La Posada' usually commences on the streets of Mexico. Children are often the ones who perform in these parades. 'Posada' actually means 'Inn' or 'Hotel' in Spanish. When Joseph and Mary looked for shelter before the birth of Christ, they tried their luck at 9 different inns. Thus, 'La Posada' is celebrated over a period of 9 days and children go knocking on the doors of people's houses, decorated with lanterns for 9 consecutive days.
These children reenact the scene of Joseph and Mary travelling and searching for shelter. During the parade, each house is asked to sing songs about Mary and Joseph and each house is asked to refuse the children from taking shelter. Finally, on the 9th day, one house is given the responsibility of agreeing to let the children take shelter, followed by a scrumptious feast, prayers, food, fireworks and the setting of the Nativity crib. After the feasting, families head to church for church service and more fireworks follow to celebrate the occasion of Christmas.
In most parts of the world, children are given presents on the 25th of December. However in some parts of the country, gifts are given to children on the day of Christmas by 'Santo Clos' or 'El Ninito Dios' (baby Jesus).
In other parts conversely, children are given gifts on January 6th during 'El Dia de los Reyes', which is, 'the Day of the Three Kings', also known as Epiphany. The Three Kings come on their steeds and leave gifts for children. It is also a custom to eat a special cake known as 'Rosca de Reyes' on this day. A small figure of Baby Jesus is hidden inside the cake, and whoever finds the figure becomes the 'Godparent' of Jesus on another important day called, 'Candelaria' that falls on 2nd February and marks the end of the Christmas celebrations in Mexico.
The largest Angel ever made was manufactured in Mexico. It was made in 2001 by Sergio Rodriguez. The Angel was over 19 feet tall and had a wing span of 11 feet' 9 inches. Perhaps the most amazing fact about this angel, was that it was made of beer bottles-a total of 2946 of them!
Christmas is a wonderful festival in Mexico and is incomplete without the Pinacoladas, Poinsettias and the Posadas. Communities get together and really enjoy their 'fiestas' with Masses, parades, food and parties! What's better, the country can really pride about owning the largest Christmas Angel ever made in the world! Christmas does not stop with decorating the Christmas trees and exchanging gifts. In Mexico, there is a lot more color and life to the festival with the 'tamales', 'churros' and the festivities ending with Candelaria day. Feliz Navidad! (Merry Christmas)
Come and discover the colorful world of Christmas in Mexico. Read on to learn more about their customs, traditions and celebrations during this joyous festival.