Mexican Christmas Traditions.
While many of the American traditions derive from Northern Europe (such as the Christmas Tree, wreaths and Santa Clause), in Mexico the Christmas influences come from Spanish (early Catholic priests) and indigenous culture.
The Nativity Scene (often elaborate, even life-size), and displayed both in yards and within the home, is center stage and is usually set up in mid-December. The baby Jesus is later added on Christmas Eve. Poinsettia flowers, now popular in the US, are also a common holiday decoration.
In America, Santa brings presents on Christmas day, while in Mexico the Three Wise Men bring gifts on January 6th, otherwise known as “Dia de los Tres Reyes Magos”, the day the Three Wise Men brought gifts to the Christ Child.
In Mexico they also celebrate an extended period from December 16th – Christmas Eve known as Las Posadas. Las Posadas (Spanish word for “Inn” as represented in the Christmas Story) includes neighborhood processions with candles, singing, and children playing the roles of Mary and Joseph. Family and friends travel in a parade and the children approach (and are rejected) from different houses looking for shelter, finally landing at the friendly innkeeper, where a party commences with food and drink. While some of the Las Posadas traditions have waned, the 8 days of celebration are very common in most parts of Mexico.
Christmas Eve is the end of Las Posadas and many gather with families for more celebration before heading to midnight mass. Christmas day is typically quiet, recovering from the previous night’s festivities.
Many food traditions hold true for generations. Tamale preparation is a family affair, bringing all together in an assembly line to roll these delicious items. Also Mexican Punch (similar to our mulled cider) http://www.themijachronicles.com/2010/12/how-to-make-ponche-the-traditional-mexican-christmas-punch/ and Bunuelos (cinnamon-sugared fried tortillas) are favorites for both adults and children.
Ori’Zaba’s wishes all our Mexican food (and traditions) lovers Feliz Navidad. Have a safe and Merry Christmas from all of the staff at Ori’Zabas.