How Do You Say Christmas in Mexico?
Christmas is a widely celebrated holiday around the world, and Mexico is no exception. Known for its vibrant culture and rich traditions, Mexico has its unique way of saying “Christmas.” In this article, we will explore how Christmas is called in Mexico and delve into the various customs and festivities that take place during this joyous time of the year.
In Mexico, Christmas is known as “Navidad.” The word Navidad originates from the Latin term “nativitas,” meaning birth. Navidad is a significant religious holiday commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ, and it holds a special place in the hearts of Mexicans. The celebration of Navidad in Mexico is a blend of ancient indigenous traditions and Catholic customs brought by Spanish colonizers.
The festivities begin on December 12th with the celebration of the Virgin of Guadalupe, Mexico’s patron saint. This day is known as “La Virgen de Guadalupe” and is considered the unofficial start of the Christmas season. Mexicans pay homage to the Virgin Mary with processions, pilgrimages, and visits to the Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico City.
Posadas are another essential aspect of Christmas in Mexico. These are reenactments of Mary and Joseph’s search for shelter in Bethlehem, and they take place from December 16th to December 24th. Posadas involve a procession from house to house, with participants singing traditional songs and carrying candles. At each house, the group is divided into two, with one half representing those seeking shelter and the other half acting as the homeowners who refuse them. Eventually, the group is welcomed inside, and the celebration begins with food, piñatas, and fireworks.
Nochebuena, or Christmas Eve, is the most important day of the Christmas season in Mexico. Families come together for a festive meal known as “La Cena de Nochebuena,” where traditional Mexican dishes are served. Tamales, bacalao (salted cod), ponche (a warm fruit punch), and buñuelos (fried dough with sugar) are just a few examples of the delicious delicacies enjoyed on this occasion.
After the meal, it is time for the exchange of presents. In Mexico, gifts are typically opened at midnight, symbolizing the moment of Jesus’ birth. Children eagerly await the arrival of “Santa Claus” or, as Mexicans call him, “Santa Clos” (pronounced “Santa Klos”). However, it is important to note that the focus of Christmas in Mexico is more on family, traditions, and religious customs rather than extravagant gift-giving.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
Q: Are there any specific decorations used during Christmas in Mexico?
A: Yes, there are several traditional decorations used in Mexico during Christmas. One of the most popular is the “Nacimiento” or Nativity scene, which depicts the birth of Jesus. Mexican families often create intricate Nativity scenes with figurines made of clay or wood. Another common decoration is the “Farolito,” a small lantern made of paper with a candle inside. Farolitos are placed outside homes and along streets, creating a beautiful and festive atmosphere.
Q: Are there any unique Mexican Christmas traditions?
A: Yes, Mexico has several unique Christmas traditions. One of them is the “Pastorelas,” which are theatrical performances depicting the shepherds’ journey to visit baby Jesus. These performances often involve humor and satire, with the shepherds facing obstacles and temptations along the way. Another tradition is the “Piñata.” Shaped like a star, the piñata is filled with candies and small toys. Blindfolded participants take turns trying to break it with a stick, symbolizing the triumph of good over evil.
Q: Is there a specific dish that is always served during Christmas in Mexico?
A: While there is no single dish that is universally served during Christmas in Mexico, tamales are a staple and are commonly enjoyed during this festive season. Tamales are made of masa (corn dough) filled with various ingredients such as meat, cheese, or vegetables, wrapped in corn husks, and steamed. They are often prepared in large quantities and shared among family and friends.
Q: Are there any special Christmas events or celebrations in Mexico?
A: Yes, there are several notable Christmas events and celebrations in Mexico. The “Guelaguetza” in Oaxaca is a famous cultural festival that takes place on December 23rd, where dancers and musicians from different indigenous communities come together to showcase their traditional dances and music. Another significant event is the “Radish Festival” (Noche de Rábanos) in Oaxaca City, where elaborate sculptures carved from radishes are displayed on December 23rd.
In conclusion, Christmas in Mexico, known as “Navidad,” is a joyous and culturally rich celebration. From the posadas to the Nochebuena feast and the exchange of gifts at midnight, Mexicans embrace their traditions and customs during this special time of the year. The unique blend of indigenous and Catholic influences makes Christmas in Mexico a truly remarkable and unforgettable experience.