Spending your Christmas vacation in Mexico? Want to know how they celebrate Christmas south of the border? Our guide gives you detailed information not only on Christmas day, but the whole series of celebrations that makes up Christmas in Mexico.
Mexico has no official religion, but 95% of the population is Christian. So, Mexico has the world’s second largest number of Catholics after Brazil and as you might expect, Christmas in Mexico is a big deal that calls for all sorts of fun celebrations.
Guadalupe-Reyes Marathon is a concept typical of Mexican culture. It refers to the holidays from December 12 (Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe) to January 6 (Day of the Magi). During this period there are several holidays which, linked together, create a “marathon” of festivities.
Dia de Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe
This is called the Guadalupe Day. The celebration of the Virgin of Guadalupe begins on December 3rd and ends on December 12th to remember when the patron saint of Mexico appeared to ask for a temple to be built for her as the Mother of Mexico.
Celebrated from 16th December to 24th December, Las Posadas is a series of nine charming children’s processions. These nine parties in fact symbolize the nine months of Mary’s pregnancy. Each evening the children set out from the church for a pilgrimage to a different area, symbolizing the journey made by Mary and Joseph from Nazareth to Bethlehem .The pilgrims include Joseph leading Mary on a burro, shepherds, an Angel, kings, and a large gathering of excited and happy children. The entertaining verses of the traditional Posada songs are exchanged between Joseph and the group outside each house and the Innkeeper and the group inside. At each location, Joseph requests entry, until at the prearranged location, the Innkeeper and friends sing to allow them to enter. After that, the party begins, with joyous music, piñatas, with candy, fruit, and treats for everyone. This merry religious celebration is far more anticipated by the children than Christmas itself.
In every Mexican village all sizes and designs of piñatas from fringed crepe paper and cardboard glued to a clay jar (cantero) are made. The decorated clay cantero represents Satan who often wears an attractive mask to attract humanity. The most traditional style of Piñata looks a bit like Sputnik, with seven points, each with streamer to represent the seven deadly sins, a blind folded child breaks the pinata and the breaking of the Piñata with the following shower of sweets and fruits and nuts shows the victory of good over evil. Parents and children sing special Pinata songs.
Pastorelas are wonderful plays describing the story of Christ the baby. The lively acting, fun and laughter will entertain you. Usually it is played daily nine days before Christmas but particularly on Christmas Eve.
Nochebuena (Christmas Eve) is on 24th December. During the evening, the last Posada arrives. A group of local residents honors the baby with traditional Indian dances while musicians play their instruments. Skyrockets, torches, sparklers, the Pastorelas, serving Christmas punch with a fruit base and much more activities are engaged in to celebrate Christmas. At mid night greetings of Feliz Navidad / Merry Christmas are exchanged with great fervor.
Christmas is usually a quiet day in Mexico. The families sleep and rest after all night festivities and spend the day at home with the family. All day long feasts are served.