Christmas Traditions: How We Celebrate Christmas in Mexico

Christmas parties are approaching and Mexican believers are now ready to continue their traditional celebrations. These holidays have been preserved through the years with great fervor. Here we show you some of the most characteristic features of the Christmas holidays in Mexico.

What are the posadas?

The Christmas holidays in Mexico begin nine days before December 24. During the 16th of December, the faithful to the Christian religion form a procession to accompany Joseph and Mary, earthly parents of Jesus Christ, on their search for an inn. This nine-day festival and reenactment of Joseph and Mary’s search for an inn last the nine days it is believed that it took the couple to find an inn to accept them. On this holiday, the faithful decide how many inns there will be and where the characters will stay. The party begins before arriving at the definitive inn and is celebrated both in homes and in the streets of the city once Joseph and Mary find an Inn. The celebrations end just on the 24th, with a banquet on Christmas Eve. These parties are so popular that they have spread to some countries in Central America, such as Honduras, El Salvador, and Nicaragua.

What is the poinsettia’s Christmas meaning?

In Mexico, as in many places, Christmas parties are also an opportunity for the creativity of many merchants. During the holidays, Mexico is populated by several fairs, where it is common to find the poinsettia flower, whose name refers to a former United States ambassador, Joel Poinsett. Mexico gave the native plant to the ambassador as a gift which was later named Poinsettia in English but is called Nochebuena in Spanish, also the word used for Christmas Eve in the Spanish language.

How are nativity scenes used?

Nativities are the physical representation of the arrival of Jesus Christ into the world. The Nativity is designed in several ways, just like the Christmas tree, but there are elements that cannot be missing. The principal of all is the baby Jesus, who is placed on Christmas Eve, never earlier, just as the Bible tells. José and María also appear in the representation, placed, as well as the manger and the animals, beginning December 16. On the other hand, the wise men are placed on January 5, the day of their arrival. Tradition indicates that the nativity scene must be removed on February 2, when the celebrations culminate.

The Christmas Piñatas in Mexico

For the posadas, people make piñatas, which are structures based on mud or wire, covered with cardboard or colored papers. The piñatas are shaped like a star with seven points. Each represents one of the seven deadly sins. The striking color of the papers that cover these points stimulates the attraction that man can feel for committing a sin. The man with his eyes covered represents the believer who seeks to face those dangers. In the end, he obtains salvation, which is represented by the fall of the fruits. It should be noted that the use of piñatas has also been extended to other holidays of the year.

The three wise men

Melchor, Gaspar, and Baltazar are the names of the famous three wise men, whose arrival is celebrated on January 6. On this day, the faithful gather and share the traditional Three Kings Bread, a bread made from flour, eggs, sugar, and yeast. This treat has a circular shape because it symbolizes God’s infinite love for man. In addition, it is adorned with nuts, which represent the jewels of the king’s crowns. Inside the ring of bread, the baby Jesus and the wise men are represented with molds, simulating the offering of incense, myrrh, and gold.

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