Published December 16, 2022 By FCardoso Team
Mexicans celebrate the holiday season in many ways, as well as the parties that follow Christmas in January.
If you are looking for different ways to celebrate some of these traditions with your family or friends, here are some of the most popular ones around Christmas and New Year's Day.
It all starts on December 12: Our Lady of Guadalupe
The Roman Catholic Church's celebration of the Virgin of Guadalupe, patron saint of Mexico and the Americas, marks the beginning of the season.
This day commemorates the apparition of the Virgin Mary to Juan Diego (Cuauhtlatoatzin), an Aztec convert to Christianity, in December 1531 on the hill of Tepeyac (today located west of Mexico City).
This day is celebrated not only with the celebration of masses and prayers, but also with traditional songs and dances (including the live television broadcast of the mañanitas, performed each year by different famous singers); pilgrimages from various parts of the country to the Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico City; and the custom of dressing children in traditional "inditos" costumes, in honor of Juan Diego.
December 16 to 24: The Advent Season
Many people like to participate in the "posadas" in the days leading up to Christmas. It is an ancient tradition. The "posadas" begin on December 16th
Each "posada" consists of a procession, which is usually led by a child carrying porcelain figures representing Mary and Joseph and followed by family and friends who stand outside a house.
The posada focuses on the commemoration of the holy family and the difficulties they went through to find a place where the Virgin Mary could give birth to the Christ Child.
Participants in the posada sing verses requesting a place to stay (or shelter) for the holy family while knocking on doors, only to be denied by the second part of the group inside the house who responds with their corresponding verses.
Once the round of chants is finished and the holy pilgrims are admitted into the dwelling, the outside group enters the house where everyone enjoys a snack.
December 25th: Christmas Day
The main Christmas celebration takes place on the night of December 24.
Some families attend mass in the evening or gather in their homes to await the arrival of midnight and the coming of Christmas.
Some Christmas traditions include:
Nativity scenes. These depictions of the holy family surrounding the Christ Child in the Bethlehem portal appear in churches, homes, and common places.
Traditional dishes: tamales, romeritos, churros, champurrado, and rompope, among many others.
January 1st: New Year's Day
On New Year's Eve, people usually try to eat twelve grapes at the stroke of midnight. This tradition has its roots in Spanish customs and is said to bring good luck to whoever can pull it off - it's harder than it looks!
January 6: Three Wise Men Day
The traditional custom is for the Three Wise Men to bring gifts to children on the last day of the Christmas season: January 6. Many families remain faithful to this tradition.
Children write letters to the Three Wise Men expressing their wishes and leave them with them on the night of January 5 in the hope that the gifts they have asked for will be delivered to them the following day.
In addition, families enjoy on this day a delicious, sweet bread in the shape of an oval, called Rosca de Reyes.
Just as from December 12 to January 6 Mexicans are from party to party and that's why we call it the Guadalupe - Reyes marathon (very difficult to endure so many parties and sleepless nights).