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Christmas in Mexico
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Cultural Notes on Christmas

by

Jonathan and Rebecca Allinson

02

* It is a celebration of the Nativity. This means the birthday of the Lord Jesus. In order to prepare for the day of symbolic commemoration, we have the "Posadas". These celebrations are a "Novena" or nine days before the 24 which is the "Noche Buena" or "Holy Night".

* These Posadas are an enactment of looking for lodging of St. Joseph and Virgin Mary, called The Pilgrims going to Bethlehem for the Census according to the Scriptures. In Spanish we call them: "Los Peregrinos, San José y la Virgen María". Each family in a neighborhood, will schedule a night for the Posada to be held at their home, starting on the 16th of December and finishing on the 24th on Noche Buena.

* The Peregrinos will ask for lodging in three different houses but only the third one will allow them in. That will be the house that is supposed to have the Posada for that evening. Once the innkeepers let them in, the group of guests comes into the home and kneels around the Nativity scene to pray the Rosary. The Rosary is a traditional Catholic prayer, and also a series of Praises for the Virgin Mary, plus singing

* On Noche Buena, December 24, everybody goes to Misa de Noche Buena which is at midnight. After the Mass, everyone goes to their respective homes to have dinner with family and friends nd any friend who does not have a family is always welcome to be part of a family celebration, and most important of all to place the Baby Jesus in the manger in the Nativity scene.

* The presents are not received on Christmas, for Christmas is a celebration of Life of Our Savior.

* The children's celebration of receiving presents is not until January 6th, "el día de Reyes", the day of the Kings, or the Wise Men Day. It is the Magi who brought the presents to the Baby Jesus, thus, they bring the toys to the boys and girls who have been good. The children place their shoes by the window, so the Magi place the present in the shoe. It the present is bigger than the shoe, it will be placed next to it. Many children, get a new pair of shoes for a present.

* El dia de Reyes is celebrated with a "Merienda" consisting of hot chocolate and "The Rosca de Reyes". "

* The Rosca de Reyes is a big oval wreath made out of egg bread (like an egg bagel, but huge) with dry fruit decorations and sprinkled sugar on top, but inside, there is a little ceramic doll which represents the Baby Jesus. The person who gets the piece of bread with the Baby, must be the Godparent of the Baby Jesus in the celebration of the Candelaria, on February 2nd..

* Traditions from the US have also permeated the Mexicans traditions. Many kids believe in Santa. They decorate just like the Americans and have Christmas trees with gifts below etc.

01

* The original celebration can be traced to many Mesoamerican native traditions, such as the festivities held during the Aztec month of Miccailhuitontli, ritually presided by the "Lady of the Dead" (Mictecacihuatl), and dedicated to children and the dead. In the Aztec calendar, this ritual fell roughly at the end of the Gregorian month of July and the beginning of August, but in the postconquest era it was moved by Spanish priests so that it coincided with the Christian holiday of All Hallows Eve (in Spanish: "Día de Todos Santos.") This was a vain effort to transform the observance from a profane to a Christian celebration. The result is that Mexicans now celebrate the day of the dead during the first two days of November, rather than at the beginning of summer. But remember the dead they still do, and the modern festivity is characterized by the traditional Mexican blend of ancient aboriginal and introduced Christian features.

* In homes observant families create an altar and decorate it with items that they believe are beautiful and attractive to the souls of their departed ones. Such items include offerings of flowers and food, but also things that will remind the living of the departed (such as their photographs, a diploma, or an article of clothing), and the things that the dead prized and enjoyed while they lived. This is done to entice the dead and assure that their souls actually return to take part in the remembrance.


 

 

 
 

 
 
             
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