The holidays are approaching and it’s easy to forget that we’re not the only one’s celebrating. You certainly know your own holiday traditions, but are you familiar with the way Mexico celebrates? They are our neighbors after all. Holiday vacations are popular trips to take the whole family on or an excuse to skip the in-laws’ this year. Here’s what to expect on your Mexico holiday vacation.
A big difference between the ways Mexico celebrates Christmas and how we do is that it’s a multiple day celebration.
December 16th – 24th
Posadas continues every night during this period. Posadas translates to “lodge” which represents Mary and Joseph’s search in Bethlehem for a place to stay. Every child goes house to house singing to their neighbors asking to come in just like Mary and Joseph did until someone says okay. The children and hosts then pray and celebrate with games, food, and fireworks. A popular game that is played is hitting a piñata. For the adults, expect a Christmas alcoholic beverage called ponche con piquete. This continues on every night with different hosts until Nochebuena (Christmas Eve) when families attend midnight church service followed by a meal together. Tamales are a popular Christmas Eve dish. Gifts are not usually given on this day nor do children expect Santa Claus to visit, but in recent years, this has begun to change due to American influence.
This day is called, Dia de los Santos Inocentes (Day of the Innocent Saints), and can be best described as the equivalent to our April Fool’s Day since it’s filled with practical jokes. If you ever get this poem said to you on this day, you have been pranked:
Que te dejaste engañar,
Sabiendo que en este día
Nada se debe prestar.
Innocent little dove,
You let yourself be fooled,
Knowing that on this day
Nothing should be lent.” (Mexconnect)
This is an important date in Mexico called, Dia de los Reyes (the Day of the Three Kings). The Three Kings ended their journey following the star to Bethlehem and met Jesus. A tradition on this day is to eat Rosca de Reyes (Three Kings Cake) where a baby Jesus is hidden inside and whoever gets the slice with him inside is his ‘godparent’ for the following year.
Have you ever been in Mexico during Christmas? What was your experience like?