Spending this Christmas in Mexico? Perhaps you’re having Mexican guests over for Christmas dinner? Our guide to Mexican Christmas traditions gives you the facts & information about the religious & fun aspects of Christmas.
Christmas in Mexico is a religious holiday season with a series of ancient celebrations in commemoration of the birthday of Jesus Christ. Mexicans prepare nine days of consecutive symbolic tribute called ‘Posadas’, starting on 16th December and ending on 24th December, a holy night. The ‘Posadas’ is a local cultural tradition which is basically a performance of small children recreating the scene when St. Joseph and Virgin Mary were looking for accommodation in Bethlehem at the time of Jesus’ birth.
The people from the neighborhood schedule an evening to host a ‘Posada’ and create a nativity scene at their place. Apart from the hosting family, the children and adults from the neighborhood form a procession carrying small candles in their hands and paper lamps that look like lanterns. Four teenagers of the same height carry two small statues of St. Joseph leading a donkey that rides Virgin Mary. They pretend to request lodging through singing a song at different doors but only the third one, which is supposed to host a procession according to schedule, allows them to have accommodation in their home. Kneeling around the Nativity scene, the procession prays the Rosary.
After the prayers, party time starts. The children are served with ‘Pinata’, a type of balloon that releases peanuts, oranges, tangerines, sugar canes and wrapped hard candies. The children sing a song when a child breaks the ‘Pinata’. For the adults, a hosting family prepare a hot beverage made of seasonal fruit and cinnamon sticks with a little alcohol. In Spanish language, it is called ‘Ponche Con Piquete’. The hot apple cider with fruits, is commonly called ‘Ohio’.
Christmas Eve in Mexico
On the holy night, 24th December, everybody goes to church to attend midnight Mass. After the Mass, family dinner time starts. The 25th December is a day of rest at homes. New Year’s Eve is celebrated by attending Rooster’s Mass at midnight. The Mexicans don’t exchange gifts and presents on Christmas or New Year. Only On 6th of January, a day of Wise Men, do children receive gifts. A Magi buys the gifts for the children and puts them in their shoes which they already put outside their door. The Mexican children wait enthusiastically to awake on the morning of 6th January to find a gift in their shoes outside. A special treat of ‘Roscade Reyes’ which is a crown shaped sweet bread decorated with candies & fruit, is served on this day. Inside the bread, they hide a ceramic doll which represents the baby Jesus before baking. A person who gets baby Jesus in his/her peace, as every person cuts his/her own piece, hosts the next party on candle Mass on 2nd February.
Through their way of Christmas celebration, Mexican people actively teach their children about the story of Christ’s birth. With the rapid influences of globalization, in some urban parts of Mexico, most of the influential people now celebrate Christmas in American style with Santa Claus, meals and exchange of gifts.