Although Mexico probably won’t be able to provide a white Christmas,there is more than enough holiday cheer to go around. The holiday season in Mexico real estate is just as colorful and fun-filled as any snow-laden Christmas spent in colder climes,as expats and locals who have seen the best of both worlds will gladly tell you,if given half the chance.
In fact,Mexico is full of seasonal traditions,such as Las Posadas,which includes nine days of candlelight processions and parties beginning Dec. 16,with young people throughout the country coming out each afternoon to re-enact Joseph and Mary’s quest for a place to sleep in the city of Bethlehem. Processions often feature a live burro led by Joseph and ridden by Mary,followed by the three wise men,or Santos Reyes,angels and shepherds.
Pastorelas,or Shepherds Plays,are also held thought the holiday season in Mexico by both amateurs and professionals. Often improvised,the plays are typically filled with humor and tell of the shepherds’ first impressions of the Christ child. In the same way,it is customary for all families to have a nativity scene,or El Nacimiento,in the home as a focal point throughout the season. Christmas trees have also grown in popularity among Mexican families and are now often included as part of the holiday décor.
Finally,Christmas Eve,or Noche Buena,is typically celebrated by a late-night mass known as Misa de Gallo,or Rooster’s Mass. Afterwards,it is customary for families to gather together to enjoy a Christmas supper of traditional fare,such as tamales and roast turkey or suckling pig. Larger feasts may also include wild greens in mole sauce or Biscayan cod,along with a hot fruit punch known as ponche.
Gifts are typically exchanged after dinner on Christmas Eve in Mexico,so it’s not surprising that the festivities can last well into the early morning hours. One popular U.S. holiday tradition that has not yet managed to influence mainstream Mexican culture,however,is the belief in Santa Claus. Instead,youngsters direct their requests for gifts to el Niño Dios,or “the holy child.”