Feliz Navidad! How is Christmas celebrated in Mexico? There are classic Mexican Christmas traditions, delicious Mexican Christmas food, fun events and much more. Read on to find out interesting facts about Christmas in Mexico, as well as the history of Christmas in Mexico. Maybe you’ll be inspired to plan a Mexican holiday getaway this year?
What are the traditions in Mexico for Christmas? Well, you’ve probably heard of the 12 days of Christmas between December 25 and January 6. In Mexico (and much of Latin America), it’s a little bit different. Las Posadas (which translates to “lodgings” or “shelter”) is a holiday celebration that takes place from December 16-25. The nine-day event symbolizes the nine-month pregnancy of Mary, the mother of Jesus. This is a big time in Mexican neighborhoods. If you’re traveling in Mexico during the holidays you will discover an array of biblical re-enactments of Mary and Joseph seeking shelter. The events are often accompanied by the singing of classic carols (called villancicos) traditional Mexican Christmas decorations called luces de Belen or “Bethlehem lights” and star-shaped piñatas filled with candy.
- Classic villancicos – One of the most fun ways to add a little Latin America twist to your own holiday seasons is to learn a few Mexican Christmas carols, known as villancicos. For a quick primer on this tradition, check out Smithsonian Folkways’ recording of a series of villancicos featuring a 17-girl choir at the Bella Vista Children’s Home in Panama City, Panama. Some of these songs may sound familiar: for instance, “Noche de Paz” is essentially the same as the holiday favorite “Silent Night.” You and your family will be singing along to these beautiful songs in no time. Listen on Spotify.
Christmas Eve traditions in Mexico
The last posada takes place on Christmas Eve (known as Noche Buena) and is followed by a late-night mass known as La Misa Del Gallo (The Mass of the Rooster) – so named because a rooster is believed to have crowed on the night when Jesus was born. After the mass, everyone enjoys a traditional feast (like most Mexican holidays), including lots of food, such as romeritos, served with dried shrimp and potatoes in a tasty green mole sauce. This is also a great time to enjoy a little Ponche Navideño, a warm Christmas punch made by simmering Mexican fruits with cane sugar and spices. It’ll warm you right up! Christmas Eve usually ends at midnight with the opening of presents. Then, it’s time to rest up for Christmas day itself – December 25 in Mexico is one of the biggest celebrations of the year.
Mexican Christmas Day Traditions
After such a late night on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day in Mexico is usually a day for church, relaxing with family – and food! A Mexican Christmas dinner will often begin with oxtail soup with beans and hot chili. That’s followed by roasted turkey and a salad made of fresh fruits and vegetables. Another option is pork and chorizo pozole. Pozole is a slow-cooked Mexican stew and it’s sure to become a family favorite if you try it this year. Use Food and Wine’s streamlined and easy recipe for pork and chorizo pozole! And no Christmas is complete without dessert. A favorite after-dinner Mexican Christmas food is a Buñuelo – a perfectly crispy, fried tortilla covered in cinnamon and sugar. ¡Delicioso! You can try to make a Buñuelo this Christmas: check out a great recipe from the Mexico In My Kitchen blog.
- Dia De Los Santos Inocentes: April Fools … in December? Los Santos Inocentes (The Sainted Innocents) takes place on December 28 and is devoted to humorous little pranks, like putting salt in the sugar bowl. Trust no one!
El Dia De Los Tres Reyes
The holiday season comes to a close on January 6 during El Dia De Los Tres Reyes (Day of the Three Kings), which celebrates when the Three Wise Men arrived bearing gifts for the baby Jesus. In some parts of Mexico, children leave a shoe out on the night before, in hopes that the Wise Men might leave something for them, too! The next day, there are presents and rosco, a sweet round cake with candied fruits that adults and children alike love.
Barceló holiday offers and packages
Now that you know all about Mexican Christmas, why not plan your very own holiday getaway in Mexico? Barceló’s all inclusive resorts off a wide array of deals and packages that will get you to Riviera Maya’s sunny skies, pristine beaches and turquoise waters. The hotels will put a tropical spin on your holiday season, offering all kinds of food, drink and fun in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Don’t believe us? Take a look at Barceló Maya Grand Resort’s amazing gingerbread houses!