Mexican Christmas Traditions

Mexican Christmas Traditions La Posadas is a unique Mexican Christmas tradition that actually begins before Christmas. La Posadas begins on December 16 and continues every night until Christmas Eve, this Mexican Christmas Tradition is considered a build up towards Christmas. La Posadas is celebrated to commemorate Mary and Joseph's journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem.

How this Mexican Christmas Tradition works is that every evening from December 16 to December 23 a procession begins. The procession is led by two children carrying a small platform that is decorated in pine. On top of the platform is a replica of Mary and Joseph riding a burro. Other people in the procession carry long slender candles that are lighted, while they are singing “Litany of the Virgin,” while the procession approaches the first house that is assigned to the Posada. Once they have approached the first house they awaken the occupants of the house while chanting an old traditional song. Once they have awakened the occupants of the first house they ask for lodging for Mary, they are denied and told to move on or suffer beatings. The procession is not easily turned away they once again plead for lodgings for Mary, as soon as the occupants realize who their guests are they welcome them into their home. Inside the house everybody kneels around a manager scene and sing songs of welcome, they also say a prayer and Ave Marias.

Once the prayers and Ave Marias are done with, it is time for the piñata, which is the part of the Mexican Christmas Tradition that the kids enjoy the most. The piñata is a brightly decorated paper or pottery container that is filled with candy and toys. Adults hang the piñata from the ceiling or from a tree so that the children can take turns hitting it with a stick. Before the children can begin hitting the piñata they must be blindfolded and turned around, not being able to see where the piñata is allows the piñata to last longer. The children must take turns hitting the piñata until the piñata is broken. Once the piñata has been broken candy and toys rain down and the children all scramble to get as much as they can.

While the piñata is the celebration, the children enjoy the most after the Ave Marias and prayers, the adults enjoy numerous refreshments and dancing. The procession, piñata, prayers, dancing, and refreshments go on every night until December 24. On Christmas Eve during the Ave Marias, another verse is added. The added verse tells the Virgin Mary that they desired night has come. On this night, the smallest children dress as shepherds and stand on both sides of the nativity scene. While the children are standing there the adults kneel and sing a litany, afterwards the Christ Child is lulled to sleep by the adults singing “El Rorro.”

Once the midnight hour strikes, the birth of Christ is announced with fireworks, ringing bells, and blowing whistles. Worships go to church and attend the Mass of the Rooster. After Mass is over families go home and have a dinner filled with traditional Mexican foods, what dishes are prepared depends on the region they live in.

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Photo Credit: Lucy Nieto

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