Affiliate Disclosure: As an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Christmas in Mexico is made up of many traditions and celebrations derived from many Christian traditions.
How do Families Celebrate Christmas in Mexico?
Christmas is- surprise, surprise!- celebrated across the globe. Now, as a minor disclaimer here, this is probably not the best source to find this information, as though our “researcher” AKA my brother, found this information from reliable sites, there are plenty of primary sources out there, floating around on the internet, ready to be read. None of the people that run this blog are from Mexico, and thus we have been downgraded to a tentative secondary source, though even that is debatable.
Christmas in Mexico is on December 25th but doesn’t share many traits with Christmas in, say, the U.S., which is where I’m from. Mexico’s Christmas is mainly based off of their Roman Catholic culture.
The holiday season lasts nearly a month, beginning on December 12th with a celebration called “La Guadalupana” and ends on January 6th with the Epiphany.
On Epiphany, children put their shoes out for the Three Magic Kings to put presents in. In Mexico, the Three Wise Men are believed to travel around the world and deliver gifts to good children.
During Christmas in Mexico, children don’t receive their gifts until January 6th, unlike the U.S. where children receive presents on December 25th.
Also, Mexico uses Nativity Scenes in their Christmas traditions. We’ve all seen them. Or, at least, we’ve all seen Home Alone. I’m hoping.
Anyway, nativity scenes are the nice little Mary-Jesus-Joseph combo toys- it’s like Legos but religious. (Sorry, Mom- I’m sorry-) Mexican Nativity Scenes are called El Nacimiento, which means “births”.
Joseph, Mary, and the baby Christ are referred to as misterios, which means “mysteries”. Most families put together their Nativity Scenes on December 16th, which is nine-night Christmas novena.
Finally, on Christmas Eve, Mexican families finish their Nativity Scenes by placing the baby Jesus to symbolize his birth.
What is Christmas in Mexico Called?
The Mexican celebration is called Las Posadas. Las Posadas lasts from December 16th to December 24th.
Las Posadas resembles the journey that Mary and Joseph took from Nazareth to Bethlehem in search of a place to give birth to baby Jesus. I wonder if he was a kicker. I was a kicker.
Las Posadas Celebrations
Also, every evening during the celebration, a small child dresses as an angel and leads a procession through the town. After the child begins walking, citizens follow the procession, asking people for lodging for Mary and Joseph.
Lodging is denied due to Mary and Joseph being denied shelter in Bethlehem. At every stop for shelter, a piece of scripture is read and Christmas carols are sung.
At the end of the festival, pinatas are filled with candy and broken open by children. The pinatas are shaped like stars, symbolizing the star the three wise men had to follow to find Jesus.
I hated pinatas growing up. I still do. They make my blood boil. You line up a bunch of mini-humans, hand them a blunt object and then, to top it all off, you compromise their eyesight? And then, with a few SPINS to disorient them and the promise of sweets for their little gremlin- brains to light up to, you tell them, “GO HIT IT!”? Disgusting. Vile. One for the books, really.
Who thought it was a good idea? Honestly, it’s just a prime example of natural selection, and pinatas? They will be our downfall.
What is Mexican Christmas Dinner Like?
People eat food in the U.S.. People eat food in Mexico. Who knew? Not us! (Cue Paul Rudd.) Anyway, here are a few of the dishes that are popular during the holiday season. I’m hungry. And sad. Those are probably connected. Correlation? Causation? I don’t know, I’m not taking Statistics until next year.
Pozole is a popular Mexican soup made with pork or chicken and seasoned with garlic and peppers.
After it’s seasoned, it’s garnished with lime, lettuce, cabbage, avocado, and pretty much any other toppings you could think of.
Another centerpiece of Mexican Christmas dinners is tamales. The tamale is made from dough and then steamed in a corn husk or banana leaf.
Over the years, tamales have traveled their way into America and is now a popular part of our Christmas dinner.
Tenderloin is known to be a slice of popular meat all over the world, including Mexico.
The tenderloin is prepared by being cooked and seasoned with pepper, salt, garlic, and other similar seasonings.
Just as America has, turkey is usually the main dish to a Mexican Christmas dinner.
The turkey is seasoned with pepper and salt and is stuffed with different kinds of vegetables and rice.
I kind of hate turkey. I KNOW no one asked, but here’s my take: Turkey is the Walmart of poultry. You know, chicken is RIGHT THERE. Turkey is often dry and the texture is too chewy and it’s just… heavy. I don’t understand why my family still insists on cooking it when I know- for a FACT- that none of us actually want it.
I’ve said it once and I will say it again: Tradition is peer pressure from dead people. Free your minds. Free the scary birds.
How Would You Say “Merry Christmas” in Spanish?
Have you ever wondered how to say “Mery Christmas” in Spanish? Well, it’s rather simple because it is the name of a popular Christmas song.
Feliz Navidad means “Merry Christmas” in Spanish. “Feliz Navidad” was written by Jose Feliciano in 1970.
The song has been covered by many artists including Boney M, Michael Buble, and others. For years, it has been one of the most beloved Christmas songs all over the world.
Also, Felices fiestas means “happy holidays”, and Te Deseo Una Feliz Navidad means “I wish you a Merry Christmas!”
Feliz Navidad y próspero Año Nuevo translates to “Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!”
Christmas in Mexico Decorations
The citizens of Mexico deck the halls during Christmas time! (WHO WROTE THIS? I SURE DIDN’T- I HATE IT I HATE IT I’M ONLY THE EDITOR AHAHA-) (I’m keeping it, though. But let it be known that I hate it.) Their decor includes Nativity Scenes, Christmas trees, and others.
Nativity Scenes, or el Nacimiento, is one of the more important Mexican Christmas decorations.
El Nacimiento is one of the centerpieces and can be large enough to fill a whole room! The scenes are usually hand made or passed down from generation to generation.
In Mexico, Nativity Scenes are traditionally put up on December 16th and are topped off with baby Jesus on Christmas Eve.
Over the years, Christmas trees have become more popular in Mexico. Although Christmas trees have gained popularity, el Nacimiento is still the centerpiece for Christmas in Mexico.
Christmas trees are decorated with handmade ornaments or handmade paper mache.
The trees are also covered in tinsel and garland. Finally, Christmas trees are traditionally topped off with a star, symbolizing the star that the Wise Men followed to find baby Jesus.
During Christmas in Mexico, merchants display many pinatas, an important Mexican toy involving children.
The traditional creation of a pinata includes filling a clay pot with fruit, nuts, toys, and candy. Artisans put on paper or tinsel after the clay pot has been filled.
Now, most artisans skip the clay pot step and only fill the paper mache with candy and toys. The artisans shape the paper mache into anything that pleases children.
Children are able to choose from a huge variety of shapes including animals, cartoons, and others. During Christmas time many churches and schools display pinatas.
Also, many pinatas are used by children during the celebration of Los Posadas. The pinata is hung from a rope and swung at by a bat from blindfolded children.
After the pinata is broken by the children, candy spills out and all of the kids come running to receive their share.
Santa Claus in Mexico
Santa. Fun guy. Has some broken dogs and a wicked crib that he gets to hang out in for 360-some-odd-days out of the year with brightly-colored serfs to bend to his will. Icon.
I wonder if Santa has to pay taxes on all the products he must ship in. Maybe, he’s wanted by the IRS and that’s why he lives in the North Pole. Or, maybe, I’m thinking way too deeply into a story about some dude who drives a magic sleigh. Yeah.
Mexico has a version of a gift-giving entity that somehow collects the data of minors all across the nation and disperses commercialized items to them on allotted times during the year.
Actually, it isn’t Santa Claus at all, it’s the Three Wise Men! Mexican children receive their gifts on January 6, which is a celebration called “Epiphany”.
Epiphany is also called Dia de los Reyes, or “Three Kings’ Day”. On Epiphany, the Three Kings, or Magi, serve as Mexico’s gift-givers.
On Epiphany Eve, the Magi travel around the world and deliver gifts to obedient children. Children place their shoes near the door or window on Epiphany Eve for the Magi to place gifts in.
Also, they leave a straw and some water to hydrate the Three Kings’ camels. In the morning, children all across Mexico find their shoes filled with gifts and the dishes of water empty.
Epiphany celebrations a ring-shaped cake called La Rosca de Los Reyes, which means “Three Kings’ Cake”. Bakers put a small doll into the cake as part of the celebration.
In Mexican culture, whoever finds the doll in the cake will have good luck in the coming year. Finally, Mexicans complete their Nativity Scenes on Epiphany, moving the Three Wise Men into place.
It’s amazing how the Christmas traditions of a neighboring country are so different than ours!