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HomeLanguage Learning¡Feliz Navidad! Exploring Christmas Traditions in Mexico

¡Feliz Navidad! Exploring Christmas Traditions in Mexico

Christmas in Mexico isn’t only a single day. The center of the Christmas holidays in Mexico happens over the course of a number of weeks, however your complete Christmas season lasts almost two months! 

In brief, Mexico loves celebrating Christmas. If you end up fortunate sufficient to go to in the midst of this bustling season, you’ll be greeted by extra than simply decorations and Christmas music. The festivities are limitless: spiritual processions, energetic parades, social gatherings, youngsters’s performs, out of doors markets, particular foods and drinks, carols, and a lot extra. 

And right here’s a professional tip—snow is uncommon all through most of Mexico, however winters can get chilly! Deliver some further money and purchase a standard rebozo or sarape, two varieties of shawls that may preserve you heat. 

Beneath, we’ll take a more in-depth take a look at Mexican Christmas traditions that you could take pleasure in overseas or in your individual neighborhood. Regardless of the way you select to rejoice, studying Spanish will help you higher join with Mexican tradition! Rosetta Stone’s bite-sized classes will let you immerse your self in Spanish with out the tedious memorization, so you may get dialog prepared very quickly. 

>> Study these helpful fundamental Spanish phrases and phrases proper now!


What do they name Christmas in Mexico?

Christmas goes by many names in Mexico, and that’s as a result of there are such a lot of celebrations all through the season. You could hear las Posadas, la Nochebuena, and el Día de los Tres Reyes, amongst them. 

The true title for Christmas, although, is la Navidad. It’s additionally frequent for individuals to discuss with your complete season as las Fiestas Navideñas (the Christmas Festivities), a reputation that emphasizes simply how a lot there’s to see through the season. You’ll by no means be bored throughout las Fiestas Navideñas—all it’s important to do is stroll out your door or go downtown to see a celebration. 

>>Wish to know learn how to pronounce Navidad and las Fiestas Navideñas? Communicate like a local with TruAccent.

When does Mexico rejoice Christmas?

Mexicans rejoice Christmas on December 24, which is known as Nochebuena (translated instantly because the “Good Evening,” however extra appropriately as “Christmas Eve”). Why does Mexico rejoice Christmas on the twenty fourth? Resulting from Spanish colonization, Mexico is overwhelmingly Catholic–about 78% Catholic–and it’s conventional for Catholics to go to midnight mass on the night time of the twenty fourth, since they consider Jesus was born at that second. 

Nonetheless, we will’t overlook that Christmas may be very a lot a season in Mexico, with notable days and festivities occurring from mid-December to early February. Here’s a listing of probably the most memorable dates throughout las Fiestas Navideñas, which we’ll share extra on under: 

  • December 12: Día de la Virgen de Guadalupe (Virgin of Guadalupe Day)
  • December 16-24: Posadas
  • December 24: Nochebuena (Christmas Eve)
  • December 25: Navidad (Christmas Day)
  • December 28: Día de los Santos Inocentes (Holy Innocents Day)
  • January 6: Día de los Tres Reyes Magos (Three Kings Day)
  • February 2: Candelaria (Candlemas)

How does Mexico rejoice Christmas? 

Mexico celebrates Christmas de muchas maneras (“in some ways”). From villancicos to heat mugs of ponche navideño, there’s pleasure to be present in each exercise. 


Mexican Christmas traditions 

  • Las Posadas: Primarily based on the Nativity story, these celebrations happen on the times main as much as Nochebuena. With two individuals dressed as Mary and Joseph and accompanied by musicians and novice singers, a bunch goes to a unique home for 9 nights in a row. There’s a name and response between the individuals who ask for posada (“lodging”) and the potential hosts. Then everybody enters to sing villancicos, and the kids break a piñata.
  • Villancicos: Villancicos are the Mexican model of Christmas carols. You would possibly hear them sung by youngsters or grownup choruses on the road or indoors. Hearken to a villancico composed by Mexico’s most well-known convent author, sor Juana Inés de la Cruz.
  • Piñatas: Although strongly related to Mexico, piñatas are a European custom that merged with indigenous Mexican tradition. Made from paper mache or a clay pot and full of sweet, piñatas are available all types of colours, shapes, and pictures. As different youngsters sing, a blindfolded youngster hits the piñata with a stick in hopes of being the primary to interrupt it. Regardless of how lengthy it takes, enjoyable is had by all!
  • Nochebuena: As we talked about, households normally go to midnight mass. Then they’ve a cena collectively, a standard Christmas Eve dinner made up of a number of the gastronomic delights we point out under.
  • Reward giving: Members of the family might trade small items on Nochebuena, however the youngsters have to attend for his or her most vital current till Three Kings Day. Generally there’s a Kris Kringle kind of present trade inside a household or at work.

Conventional Mexican Christmas meals

Genuine Mexican delicacies is, in line with UNESCO, thought-about to be one of many cultural treasures of the world. And we agree! Distinctive, scrumptious, and filled with advanced flavors, listed here are only a few of the marvelous Christmas meals present in Mexico:

  • Tamales: There are such a lot of varieties of tamales in Mexico! Often wrapped in corn or banana leaves, they’ve a cornmeal base and are full of hen, pork, cheese, or, in some areas, fish, and a few form of sauce, normally a tomato-based sauce, or, in Oaxaca, mole. Tamales are typically candy as properly. 
  • Ensalada de Nochebuena (Christmas Eve Salad): The precise elements of this colour–packed salad can fluctuate, but it surely normally consists of lettuce, pomegranate, mandarin oranges, jicama, nuts, and dressing. ¡Muy buena!
  • Pavo navideño (Christmas Turkey): There are such a lot of methods to arrange a turkey, and Mexico isn’t any exception. Some of the frequent methods to arrange pavo navideño is with a marinade known as adobo, a sauce normally made with chipotle and ancho chili peppers.
  • Ponche Navideño (Spiced Punch): This heat and satisfying drink is made with a number of fruit, cinnamon and sugarcane sticks, and piloncillo, a form of brown sugar. It’s usually solely mildly candy. Grown ups would possibly spike it with a bit rum.
  • Bacalao (Salted Codfish): Whereas the unique recipe comes from Spain, this can be a extremely popular dish in Mexico for the vacation season. The fish will get soaked for days to take away the salt then sauteed with onion, tomato, olives, potatoes, and typically raisins or almonds. After the combination sits awhile, the flavors actually soak in. In Mexico, it’s served with a bolillo (roll) and a pickled chili pepper on the aspect!

Mexican Christmas decorations

Mexico actually is aware of learn how to spruce a spot up! We’ve already talked about piñatas, however don’t miss the out of doors Christmas markets the place you’ll discover music, Christmas decorations, and flowers.

  • Nochebuena (“Poinsettias”): Nochebuena can be the title of the normal Christmas flower known as  “Poinsettias” in English! You’ll see them in every single place, from the general public parks to inside workplaces. 
  • Luminarias: Luminarias are lit candles surrounded by a paper holder. They might be elaborate, store-bought, or home made. Typically utilized in las Posadas, you’ll additionally see them throughout New Mexico in the US through the vacation season.
  • Nacimientos (Nativity Scenes): Whereas Mexican properties are inclined to have a Christmas tree these days, the normal Christmas ornament for the house is a nacimiento (nativity scene). Consisting of the normal components of the biblical story, the child Jesus will not be positioned within the manger till late on Christmas Eve.

Is Santa a Christmas custom in Mexico?

Santa will not be a standard a part of Christmas in Mexico, and as such, present giving works otherwise. Kids usually obtain their items on Three Kings Day, although households will typically trade items on Christmas Eve beneath the guise that child Jesus brings items to youngsters. 

That stated, Christmas celebrations from the US have influenced Mexico, and these days, it isn’t uncommon to see Santa at native malls. He’s usually known as “Santa” as he’s in English, although Papá Noel or Santa Clos can be used! 


What different holidays are celebrated through the Christmas season?

December 12: Día de la Virgin de Guadalupe 

The Virgin of Guadalupe is considered one of Mexico’s most iconic emblems. Mentioned to have appeared to Juan Diego in 1531, she is a permanent image of Mexico’s independence from Spain and the official patroness of Mexico, a standing declared by the pope in 1910. 

December 12 is a nationwide feast day celebrated by Catholics worldwide, however celebrations are fairly elaborate in Mexico. Juan Diego was indigenous to Mexico, and as such, the ceremonial dance carried out on the day, Danza de los Matachines, honors the nation’s indigenous roots. Many Mexicans additionally go to the Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico Metropolis between the festivities to honor the Virgin Mary. 

This colourful vacation kicks off the start of the Christmas season and is the beginning of the FIestas Navideñas in Mexico. 

December 28: Día de los Santos Inocentes

Día de los Santos Inocentes (Holy Innocents Day) is a Catholic vacation noticed by many Spanish-speaking nations. Although it has solemn, spiritual origins, the day is definitely fairly amusing in nature, and similar to April Fools Day. Who doesn’t love a great, lighthearted prank? 

January 1: Año Nuevo

Mexico celebrates the New 12 months on December 31 with household. A cena (dinner) is held, and households might make any of the normal Christmas dishes we’ve already talked about. Proper earlier than midnight, individuals eat a dozen grapes to make a want for every month of the New 12 months, and there’s normally a toast when the clock strikes 12:00. Casual or citywide fireworks usually comply with.


January 6: Día de los Tres Reyes Magos

The Día de los Tres Reyes Magos (Three Kings Day) is a feast day celebrated by Christians worldwide on January 6. In keeping with the nativity story, it commemorates the go to of the Three Clever Males. 

Santa performs a a lot smaller position in Mexico, however that doesn’t imply youngsters go with out items. As a substitute, youngsters obtain their items from these three Magi, echoing the items that the Magi introduced for the new child Jesus. 

The traditions can fluctuate relying on the area and the household, however most youngsters go to mattress early and put a shoe near the Nativity scene of their home, marking the spot the place they hope to obtain a present. 

The following day, households and mates will drink scorching chocolate and eat a rosca de los Reyes, a spherical pastry lined with dried fruit. For those who’re invited to eat a rosca, be careful for the little plastic doll hidden inside. It symbolizes Child Jesus—and it indicators that you simply’ll be shopping for tamales on Candelaria

February 2: Candelaria

La Candelaria is named Candlemas in English, however the vacation will not be extremely popular in English-speaking nations. In Mexico, nevertheless, today is intimately related with el Día de los Tres Reyes. Whoever finds the plastic child within the rosca on that day has to offer the tamales for that very same group of individuals on February 2! 

Although not a serious vacation, many individuals have small gatherings to cap the vacation celebrations. It is usually the day when Catholics take their statues of the Child Jesus, usually dressed up for the day, to church to be blessed.

Benefit from each celebration

Christmas in Mexico is a superb vacation filled with custom, surprises, generosity, and delicious meals. The magic of vacation traditions, after all, is that they will occur wherever on the earth. Whether or not you’re planning a visit to Mexico or celebrating along with your local people, there’s loads of room to include these traditions into your individual. 

Studying Spanish will help you uncover much more tradition in Mexico and past! Rosetta Stone’s bite-sized classes will help you study shortly and good your accent in a enjoyable, immersive surroundings—no memorization required. Study from the consolation of tu casa or take your classes on the go together with the Rosetta Stone app

Written by Rowena Galavitz

Rowena Galavitz is a Spanish translator, bilingual copy editor, and language and literature teacher with three grasp’s levels who loves Spanish and all issues Mexico.



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