Mexican Christmas: Feliz Navidad
By: Erin Burnett
Feliz Navidad y Prospero A-o Nuevo!
Have a totally tropical Christmas and a blazing New Year's blast in Mexico!
Getting a great head start on the rest of the world, Mexicans start celebrating on December 16. It seems that there are so many Christmas activities, they have to take several weeks to enjoy them all!
Nativity Scenes are very common. In fact, Mexicans revere the Nativity so much that they recreate it with "Las Posadas". This is a time of grand celebration and gathering. Many people take part in a reenactment of the Birth of Christ. Many will also attend "Pastorelas" or plays about the shepards and their visit from the angel. In the spirit of a warm holiday, the outdoor markets offer sunny shopping and cool Christmas crafts. And to think, all these festivities last through 9 days!
Some Mexican children will get a visit from St. Nick this year, but many have another special Christmas spirit who brings gifts and joy. On Christmas Eve, kids can expect a visit from "el Ni-o Dios". The Holy Child brings gifts to the good girls and boys. Then on January 6, the three wisemen come to visit for "Reyes Magos". The Magi leave more gifts for the children, sometimes in their shoes!
Many Mexican families attend a midnight mass on Christmas Eve. The Birth of Christ is very much the central theme to the Mexican celebration, and this is a grand change from the commercialized American Christmas. The Christmas trees have to travel a good way, and that drives up the price. Usually, full sized trees are only found in the homes of the wealthy, but many others find a way to honor the evergreen by adding ornaments to a small branch or shrub.
To decorate for a Mexican Christmas, be sure to add some of the beatiful red poinsettas or "La Flor De Noche Buena". They have been a Christmas tradition throughout much of the world since an American ambassador introduced it to South Carolina in the 1820's. A well-dressed Mexican Christmas home would also have to have a pinata! As part of the fun, the children gather around and smack it with sticks until they are showered by the candy explosion!
The Mexican Christmas festival is an impressive sight, with elaborate decorations and celebrations for nearly a month! The holiday is overwhelming in its magnitude, but amazingly, in all this revelry the people rarely lose sight of the true meaning of Christmas!
Poinsetta Broaches Make a pretty poinsetta broach with seeds and beans!
Mexican Christmas Ecards Send one of these festive email greetings!
Mexican Christmas Cookies Try this tasty Christmas cookie treat that is coated in sugar!
Mexican Christmas Carols
El Noi De La Mare Spanish lyrics for a traditional Christmas song.
Riu Riu Chiu Listen to a midi of Riu Riu Chiu- a 16th century Spanish carol.
Riu Riu Chiu Lyrics Follow along and sing the song in Spanish!