Commemorate Christmas the Mexican way with posadas, villancicos and more

There are lots of special traditions surrounding Christmas in Mexico. Some of these originated in Spain and others developed due to Mexico’s particular history. The celebrations surrounding Christmas last through much of the month of December, however in reality, the Christmas season isn’t well and genuinely over till February 2nd. Continue reading to learn more about a few of the most essential Mexican Christmas traditions and how to celebrate if you’ll be in Mexico throughout this magical time of the year.

There are lots of other events that happen in Mexico throughout this month. See our list of December festivals and events.

01 of 09

Nacimientos

Henryk Sadura/Getty Images

Although lots of Mexican households have Christmas trees, nativity scenes are a more typical Christmas design and numerous families place fancy Nativity scenes in their houses or yards. There are also numerous public nacimientosalong with some very beautiful folk art nativity scenes made by local artists and craftsmens. The nacimientois normally set up on December 16th (the day that the Posadas start), the infant Jesus is added in the evening on December 24th and the 3 kings are included on January 5th.

See pictures of Mexican nacimientos.

02 of 09

Pastorelas

Secretaría de Cultura Ciudad de México (CC BY-SA 2.0) / Flickr

Pastorelasare theatrical discussions of the shepherds (los pastores) on their method to see child Jesus. These come from throughout Mexico’s colonial period as a way to teach the native individuals about Catholic dogma, however have altered gradually and are now light-hearted comedic presentations. In the play the shepherds experience different obstacles on their journey, with devils and angels making appearances, attempting to persuade them of the way they must take.

03 of 09

Villancicos

In English-speaking countries the Christmas season might be announced with the familiar pressures of The Little Drummer Boy or Silver Bells playing in stores and on the radio. Likewise in Mexico, you’ll begin to hear “Los Peces en el Río” or “Arre Borrequito.” Christmas carols are called villancicos (pronounced vee-yan-see-kose) in Spanish. A few of these might recognize translations of tunes in English, such as Noche de Paz, the Spanish variation of Silent Night, and some are totally various, such as Las Campanas de Belen (Bethlehem’s Bells) or the previously mentioned Los Peces en el Río (the Fishes in the River).

04 of 09

Christmas Posadas

Getty Images/ Juan Jacobo Zanela

The Posadas occur on the nine days preceding Christmas. From the 16th to the 24th processions reenact Mary and Joseph’s look for shelter in Bethlehem. These processions result in a different house every night for the conclusion of the posada – a carnival, which will typically consist of several piñatas.

Learn more: Christmas Posadas

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05 of 09

Nochebuena

A01333441jarh (CC BY-SA 3.0), from Wikimedia Commons

Christmas Eve is called Nochebuenain Spanish. This is the night of the last posada. Lots of people participate in midnight mass and after that have a supper together with their families. Christmas Day is normally a peaceful day. Presents are not generally exchanged on Christmas, however this is changing, and Santa Claus is ending up being increasingly more prominent in Mexican Christmas events.

06 of 09

Vacation Foods

Getty Images/ carlosrojas20

Of course, food plays a huge part in any holiday event, and there are many foods that are related to this time of year in Mexico. From ensalada de Noche Buenato ponche Navideño, here is some background about the foods taken in at Christmas together with some links to dishes: Mexican Christmas Foods.

07 of 09

Año Nuevo

Tier Images/ Getty

Many Mexicans celebrate New Year’s Eve by having a late-night dinner with their households. Those who wish to party usually go out later on, so if you’re looking for a night out on the town, be prepared for things to actually get going after midnight.

Learn more: New Year’s Eve in Mexico

08 of 09

Día de Reyes

(CC-BY-SA-3.0)/ Wikicommons

January sixth is Epiphany, commemorated in Mexico as Día de Reyes “King’s Day.” This is when kids typically receive presents, brought by the 3 smart men. Numerous kids now get gifts both on Christmas and on King’s Day.

On this day it is likewise customary to share a Rosca de Reyesamongst friends and family. This is an unique sweet bread in the shape of a wreath with a mini baby Jesus figure inside. Whoever discovers the baby Jesus (typically there are a number of in each Rosca) is supposed to host the celebration on February second, generally serving tamales.

Find out more: Kings Day in Mexico

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09 of 09

Día de la Candelaria

Isaacvp (CC BY-SA 3.0) through Wikimedia Commons

Candlemas, or Día de la Candelaria, on February second, marks the end of the Christmas season. On this day, individuals dress up their Niños Dios(Christ kid figures) and take them to the church to be blessed, and everybody takes pleasure in tamales supplied by the individual who got the child Jesus in the Rosca de Reyeson King’s Day.

Learn more about Candlemas (Día de la Candelaria).

Christmas Stockings

Christmas Pullovers

Christmas Pullovers

Christmas Dresses

Christmas Dresses

Christmas Jewelry