The Mexican culture is rich with traditions, especially when it comes to celebrating holidays. Christmas in Mexico is no exception, as there are several customs associated with the holiday. Recreating these customs is easy to do at home if you have an understanding of how the Mexican culture honors Christmas each year.
Our Lady of Guadalupe
In Mexico, a fiesta takes place each year on December 12 for Our Lady of Guadalupe. This is typically considered the start of the Christmas celebrations. On this day, residents from across the country make a pilgrimage to the Basílica of Guadalupe in Mexico City. Once there, those in attendance pray, leave favors, sing and dance.
The Nine Posadas
A celebration called the nine posadas, which lasts nine days, begins on December 16 and ends on December 24. The period signifies Mary and Joseph's quest to find a place to stay. Each night during this time, a family in the town opens its home to the whole neighborhood to share food and drink.
A pinata, which is a hollow animal-shaped container often made from paper mache and filled with toys and candy, is a traditional item found at many Mexican celebrations. Pinatas are used during most Christmas festivities in Mexico, including the nine posadas. On each night of the posadas, the host family presents a pinata for the children to try to break open with a stick.
Storytelling is important to the Mexican culture. During the Christmas season in Mexico, residents participate in pastorelas, which are skits that tell the stories of the shepherds traveling to see the baby Jesus. These skits are considered comedies and often include political jokes or adult humor.
The nativity scene is the centerpiece of a Mexican Christmas, even more so than a Christmas tree. Mexicans put out their nativity scenes on December 16, the night of the first posada, but they only place baby Jesus in the manger on December 24. They do not add the three kings to the scene until January 5.