Christmas in Mexico
Like many other parts of the world, Mexico celebrates Christmas on 25th of December every year. The traditions of Mexican Christmas are not influenced by the American style of celebration. The most popular cultural tradition in Mexico is called Posadas which is based on Mexico's form of Roman Catholicism.
Christmas celebration in Mexico begins on December 12, with the birthday of "La Guadalupana" (Virgin of Guadalupe), and end on January 6, with the Epiphany. On January 6, children wake up early in the morning to find toys or gifts kept in their room and figures of the Three Magic Kings at "El Nacimiento". Like Santa Claus in the US and other nations, the Three Wise Men are believed to bring gifts not only to baby Jeses but also to millions of Mexican children who have placed written requests in their shoes. Unlike in US where children get presents on 25th December, Mexican kids recieve their gifts on January 6th.
"Nacimiento" as Popular Mexican Culture
As in many other countries, the construction of the "Nacimiento" or "El Nacimiento"(Nativity scene) is a popular custom here. On this occasion, almost all family creates a Nativity scene in their home. On Christmas mid-night, a figure of baby Jesus is placed in the nacimientos to commemorate the birth of the Lord. This represents Christmas celebration in Mexico as a whole.
The owners of markets and stalls decorate them about two weeks before Christmas. Some people travel for days from remote areas to get to these markets where they can get crafts of every conceivable kind, foods such as cheese, bananas, nuts, and cookies, and flowers such as orchids and poinsettias.
Birth of Christ, Central Theme of Celebration
At midnight on Christmas Eve, dazzling fireworks, ringing bells and blowing whistles announce the birth of Christ. Many Mexican families attend a midnight mass on Christmas Eve. The Birth of Christ is very much the central theme to the Mexican celebration, and this is a grand change from the commercialized American Christmas.
The Mass over, families return home for a sumptuous Christmas dinner of traditional Mexican foods. Though the dishes vary from region to region, common foods are "tamales," rice, rellenos, "atole" (a sweet traditional drink) and "menudo". The Christmas trees have to travel a good way, and that drives up the price. Usually, full sized trees are only found in the homes of the wealthy, but many others find a way to honor the evergreen by adding ornaments to a small branch or shrub.
Christmas Celebration in Other Countries