Mexico embraces the Christmas season with a unique blend of Spanish and indigenous influences...
From the playful pranks of Los Santos Inocentes to the heartwarming Posada processions, Mexican Christmas traditions embody the spirit of joy, togetherness, and faith that permeates the festive season. Below are brief descriptions of Christmas traditions in Mexico. As we move closer to December 25th we will be posting more comprehensive descriptions of the history and present-day celebration of these traditions.
Dia de Los Santos Inocentes - Day of the Innocent Saints
On December 28th, Mexico celebrates Los Santos Inocentes, a day marked by playful pranks and lighthearted fun. Children and adults alike engage in harmless tricks, often involving fake messages or fabricated stories, adding a touch of humor to the holiday season. The day commemorates the massacre of innocent children by King Herod in his attempt to eliminate the infant Jesus.
Noche de Rábanos - Night of the Radishes
In Oaxaca City, Christmas Eve is transformed into a spectacular display of culinary artistry with the Noche de Rábanos, or Night of the Radishes. Skilled artisans meticulously carve intricate sculptures from radishes, transforming these humble vegetables into lifelike depictions of religious figures, animals, and cultural scenes. The competition attracts thousands of visitors each year who marvel at the intricate details and artistry on display.
Nacimientos - Nativity Scenes
Nativity scenes, known as nacimientos in Mexico, are a cherished tradition that brings the essence of Christmas into homes and public spaces. Elaborate displays depict the humble birth of Jesus in a manger, surrounded by Mary, Joseph, the three wise men, angels, and animals. Families gather around nacimientos to reflect on the spiritual meaning of the season and share stories of faith and hope.
Posada processions, a reenactment of Mary and Joseph's search for lodging before Jesus' birth, are a heartwarming tradition that takes place from December 16th to 24th. Each night, a different household hosts the Posada, where community members gather to sing traditional songs, pray, and enjoy festive treats. The procession culminates with the breaking of piñatas filled with candy and small gifts, symbolizing the treasures of faith and abundance.
Traditional Christmas Food
Mexican Christmas cuisine is a delightful fusion of flavors, blending indigenous ingredients with Spanish culinary influences. Typical dishes include romeritos, a savory dish made with wild greens, mole poblano, a complex sauce often served over turkey, and bacalao, a salted cod dish often served with vegetables and olives. The festive season also brings an abundance of sweet treats, including buñuelos, crispy fried pastries dusted with cinnamon sugar, and pan de muerto, a sweet bread traditionally eaten on Día de Muertos.
Epiphany - The Feast of the Three Wise Men
On January 6th, Mexico celebrates Epiphany, commemorating the arrival of the three wise men to Bethlehem to pay homage to the infant Jesus. Children eagerly await this day, as it marks the arrival of the Three Kings, who leave gifts under children's beds in exchange for a shoe filled with hay and water for their camels. The festivities often include parades with colorful costumes and joyful celebrations.
La Candelaria - The Feast of the Candles
On February 2nd, Mexico celebrates La Candelaria, a day dedicated to the Virgen de la Candelaria, or Virgin of Lights or Candles. The tradition stems from the presentation of Jesus at the Temple, where he was blessed by Simeon, who declared him "a light to enlighten the Gentiles." During La Candelaria, individuals who received a piece of the Three Kings' bread during Epiphany bring their portion to the church to be blessed. A feast follows, often featuring tamales, a traditional Mexican dish made with corn dough and fillings.
Comment from: [Member]
Thanks Rich. This is an excellent guide to begin understanding the festive way that Mexicans enjoy the holiday season. I’ve been to a couple of Posadas and they are a lot of fun.