It’s well known that Mexicans have many celebrations (yes, we like to party!) and one of our favourites is definitely Christmas.
Christmas in Mexico is characterized by antique traditions such as:
– New Year’s Grapes
– The Three Kings (also The Three Wise Men)
– King Cake
Posadas are a re-enactment of Mary and Joseph’s pilgrimage before Jesus was born. Traditionally, nine Posadas are organized by some members of Mexican neighbourhoods, beginning in December 16th and finalizing on December 24th before Christmas dinner with family. People from the neighbourhood are divided in 2 groups and they sing together the Posada chants. Some families live up their posada by giving away food and candies among their guests and some even include piñatas as part of the celebration.
In the next video, Donald Duck explains much better how Posadas are celebrated (including the piñata). Audio is in Spanish and I apologize, but it contains the original chants and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it:
Christmas and New Year’s dinner are more of a special family moment rather than partying and celebrating with friends. Turkey, fruit punch and grapes are the key season elements for any Mexican family. During New Year’s celebration, 12 grapes are consumed, one by one, exactly at midnight and they represent all the wishes and propositions of each person.
On the other hand, for children there’s no day more important and meaningful than January 6th which is the date when the Three Kings visit their homes and leave presents under the Christmas tree. Millions of children write a detailed letter with all their gifts preferences and one night before they place one of their shoes under the tree as a sign that they are waiting for the Three Kings to come. The best memory I have related to this night is that I used to go to bed early, but to be honest I was feeling such a great excitement that it was impossible to sleep and it always took me around 3 hours to finally fall asleep. It’s because of this excitement that most children are ready to open their presents and play at 4am.
The King Cake is also shared with family on January 6th. All cakes contain some plastic small dolls that represent baby Jesus and they are hidden in different parts of the cake. It’s a funny moment when a member of the family finds the doll in its cake and it usually means that they will be in charge of bringing the tamales during the “Día de la Candelaria”, a celebration that’s not so popular anymore.
It doesn’t matter if you are a kid or a grown up, Christmas is a really special day for Mexican families and each and every one of the hugs you receive or give is full of good wishes and happiness. I hope that you truly enjoy the company of your family and all the traditions that make of this season one of the best all over the world.