With Christmas just a bit less than five weeks away, many of us already are in the throes of getting ready for it.
We’re purchasing gifts, planning meals and parties, sending out holiday cards….and working hard to be good 24/7 if we’re still a believer in Santa Claus.
While the idea of Santa Claus and live Christmas trees in the living room have made their way south of the border, traditional Mexican holiday celebrations are a bit different than in the U.S.
For one thing, the holiday season generally lasts from December 12 through January 6 (the day of the Epiphany, a day that celebrates the revelation, as Wikipedia.com puts it, “the revelation of God the Son as a human being in Jesus Christ.”
The Epiphany also is the day Mexican children get the majority of their presents (rather than on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, as they do in the U.S.).
The holiday season really goes into full swing from December 16-24, as children participate in Posada processions, of which there is one each evening over nine days. A Posada procession honors the Christmas story of Mary and Joseph looking for a room in an inn. Homes along the Posada route often are adorned with paper lanterns, evergreens and even moss.
As they walk in the Posada, children are handed candles, clay figures of Mary and Joseph and a board to place them on. They visit the homes of neighbors and friends, signing songs about the couple asking for a room in the home.
During the Posada, children walk with a board on which they place Nativity figures such as these (although the Posada figures are made of clay).
The last house they visit finally tells them there is room and they enter the home to have a party with friends and family, plenty of food, games and even fireworks. Breaking piñatas filled with candy is a favorite, traditional game at these festivities
The final Posada takes place on Christmas Eve. It’s now that the children place figures of the shepherds on their board and when they arrive at the house that lets them in, they place a baby Jesus in the manger and then head to a midnight church service with their families.
The celebration of the Epiphany (January 6) also includes eating a cake specially made for the occasion called Rosca de Reyes (Three Kings Cake). A figure of the baby Jesus is hidden in the cake and the child who has the baby Jesus in their slice becomes Jesus’ godparent for the year.
As your own family prepares for this year’s holiday season, don’t forget to treat them to a night of delicious Tex Mex food at a Mattito’s location near you. Feliz Navidad!
Image courtesy of franky242/FreeDigitalPhotos.net