Members Area
Countdown to Christmas --
Visit My Merry Christmas on Facebook!   Visit My Merry Christmas on Twitter!   Get My Merry Christmas on RSS
Navigation » Merry Forums of My Merry Christmas > Christmas Library > What's Popular » Christmas in Mexico

Home Submit Article New in the Library What's Popular Search

» What's New
santahat Remember when Black...
by MMC Editor
11-12-2013 12:55 AM
Last post by thechristmasmusicman
01-27-2014 10:42 AM
19,007 Views  4 Posts
santahat The Real History of the...
by MMC Editor
10-24-2013 12:44 PM
17,204 Views  0 Posts
santahat The Mistletoe Bough...
by MMC Editor
10-17-2013 06:19 AM
Last post by Virginia
10-30-2013 03:04 AM
29,109 Views
2 Posts
Christmas Tree A Christmas Tree for Cats
by MMC Editor
10-11-2013 08:21 AM
30,441 Views  0 Posts
Christmas Tree The Birds' Christmas...
by MMC Editor
10-11-2013 06:59 AM
Last post by Virginia
10-30-2013 03:12 AM
31,373 Views  1 Posts
» Random Entries
The Legend of The Boar
by MMC Editor
06-03-2002 01:58 PM
53,668 Views  0 Posts
Sam's First Christmas
by MMC Editor
06-09-2002 08:23 PM
48,442 Views  0 Posts
Bells The Nativity: The Story...
by MMC Editor
05-29-2002 10:42 PM
81,118 Views  0 Posts
stocking Top Videos of Christmas...
by MMC Editor
01-23-2013 08:20 AM
34,928 Views  0 Posts
Homemade for the Holidays
by MMC Editor
06-02-2002 09:31 PM
48,158 Views  0 Posts
Christmas in Mexico
Report to Moderator Old 06-02-2002 09:17 PM
MMc Editor
 
Views: 43,301
Replies: 0
By Cyndee Montoy

Navidad, or Christmas, is a religious holiday and, one that does not just occur on one day, but contains a whole season of festivities. It all began about four centuries ago when Hernan Cortes set out from Spain to conquer the Aztecs. And conquer he did, right down to the appropriation of the celebrations reserved for the Aztec god, Huitzilopochtli, that occurred at the same time of year that Christmas does. Later, when Mexico became a colony of Spain and the missionaries from the Catholic Church followed the conquistadors, Christmas celebrations began and continue to this day.

The Christmas season in Mexico begins on December 16th with the setting up of nacimientos, or nativity scenes. Households, churches, businesses, and whole communities display these scenes. The baby Jesus figure, however, does not arrive in the scene until December 24th, and the three kings arrive on January 5th. The rest of the scene is usually bright and colorful and can vary greatly from one to the next, often containing a distinct Mexican flavor. Whole landscapes are often created as well as buildings and even miniature villages upon hilltops. Since this is something that everyone is involved in, either with their family or the whole community, many of the local markets selling seasonal necessities and treats have stalls that cater to people wishing to add to their scenes and carry all manner of figures that can be bought.

Not only are nacimientos displayed on December 16th, but this also begins the first of the nine posadas (place to stay). Posadas are processions that re-enact the travels of Mary and Joseph and their search for a room in which to stay. The nine days symbolize the nine months of pregnancy that Mary endured and the posadas are truly a community effort. The procession winds it's way through the streets, headed by Joseph leading Mary on a burro (donkey) from house to house, followed by many villagers carrying candles, sometimes dressed as shepherds or angels. As they pass through the village, the procession sings songs asking for shelter to which the households sing back that they have no room. Finally, at a house chosen before hand by the community, the answer to their plea changes and they are admitted. The festivities begin at once, starting with a piñata and great fanfare.

Though piñatas have been traditionally linked to Mexico for centuries, they originally came from China. Made from paper mache, clay, crepe paper, cardboard, and tissue paper, they come in all manner of designs, though the traditional one is a star with seven points, one for each of the seven deadly sins. The piñata symbolizes good overcoming evil and, because the person attempting to break it apart is blindfolded, he or she needs the help of the community giving hints to break it open, showering good down for all in the manner of sweets, fruit, and nuts.

While the posadas are a procession through the community, there are also theatrical productions called pastorelas put on throughout the last weeks of December. The devil is often included in these comedies doing his best to set obstacles between the shepherds looking for the Christ Child and their final objective in Bethlehem. Each community adds it's own flavor to the story and these productions last anywhere from an hour to a few days. All tell essentially the same story and are, for the most part, a portrayal of the conflict between good and evil. It is in the dialogue, sometimes handed down verbally from generation to generation, and in the obstacles that the shepherds must surpass that the vast differences are evident.

The posadas continue until Christmas Eve when, after a family dinner of traditional foods and an exchange of presents between adults, a midnight mass is celebrated. Called Miso de Gallo, or Mass of the chicken, it is named after the cock that crowed the arrival of Baby Jesus. One would think the next day would continue the celebrations, but Christmas day is surprisingly quiet. Some families do have Santa Claus come and the children open some presents in the morning. But, for the most part, people are recuperating from the late night before.

The next day of celebration is El Dia De Los Reyes Magos, Day of the Three Kings. This celebration takes place on Epiphany, January 6th. It is on this day that presents are given to children. A few days before hand, children make their lists of wishes and tie them to colorful balloons that they then let rise into the air. Shoes are set out filled with straw for the Kings' camels, and the children then anxiously await the morning to see what the kings brought them. After the morning activities, the night is filled with yet another celebration at the home of the house chosen to accept Mary and Joseph on the final posada. Served at this feast is La Rosca de Reyes, a wreath shaped bread. Hidden inside the bread are toys and figurines, one of which is of the Baby Jesus. It is the person who has the Baby hidden in his or her piece of bread that will host the final party of the season on February 2nd.

Candlemas marks the end of a very long Christmas season. Hosted by the person that received the figure of the Baby Jesus on Epiphany, it is the day that the nacimientos will be taken down and the figures of the Baby Jesus blessed.

From December 16th through February 2nd lies the entire season of Navidad (Christmas) steeped in deep religious tradition, community parties, and family time. Though the church dictated the contents of the celebrations, communities and families have truly made them their own. They have kept the religious meaning while keeping the whole of community togetherness and the true spirit of celebration present in everything that is done.
__________________
This article is copyrighted. Use of this article in part or whole is strictly prohibited. For reprint, quotation, or excerpt use please contact Merry Network LLC.



Tags: Mexico
Send to Friend

Rate Article:



 
Category Jump
» Featured
Top Ten Christmas Videos...
by Jeff Westover
12-16-2013 08:10 AM
14,135 Views  0 Posts
santahat Remember when Black...
by MMC Editor
11-12-2013 12:55 AM
Last post by thechristmasmusicman
01-27-2014 10:42 AM
19,007 Views  4 Posts
Annual Survey of...
by MMC Editor
09-16-2013 08:19 AM
Last post by icetene33
10-21-2013 04:04 PM
19,432 Views  2 Posts
Snowman2 Top Five Christmas Hoaxes
by MMC Editor
09-09-2013 02:14 PM
24,271 Views  0 Posts
stocking Santa Smoking: Why is...
by Jeff Westover
10-11-2012 08:10 AM
Last post by HollyJolly
09-02-2013 08:30 AM
42,480 Views  6 Posts
» Recent Comments
Hot Cocoa or Hot Chocolate: A Matter of Taste
It's hard to find good writing now a days. But you have done a great job with all these sharing hot Cocoa and hot Chocolate. That's interesting. Thanks for sharing.
by Riccardo Vasquez on 04-04-2014 01:38 AM
The Best of Christmas Sitcoms
My top favorite Christmas Sitcoms: All from M*A*S*H , Happy Days, Laverne and Shirley. Step By Step - I'll Be Home For Christmas
by Minta on 04-01-2014 10:33 AM
His Name is Bud
love this story! Thanks for sharing your memories.
by Christmasstar on 04-01-2014 06:46 AM
The Best of Christmas Sitcoms
Here are my top 10: (in no particular order) All 3 M*A*S*H Christmas episodes they made: Dear Dad Dear Sis Death Takes a Holiday The Bob Newhart Show: His Busiest Time I'm Dreaming of a...
by Christmas-A-Holic on 03-26-2014 07:50 AM
Tips for Buying a Fresh Tree
I will do that fresh cut of the trunk.....that was my problem last Christmas.....the tree lost so many needles....even tho it was fresh....the problem was....since I didn´t cut the trunk....the tree...
by trackrebel on 03-24-2014 09:13 AM
» Christmas Library Stats
Christmas Library Statistics Categories: 31, Articles: 352, Posts: 134, Total Views 18,677,657