Mexican Christmas Traditions – How Christmas Is Celebrated In Mexico

If you want to spice up your festive season this year have a think about adding some fun Mexican Christmas traditions to your home. Today we are looking at some of the fun things that they do to celebrate Christmas in Mexico and share with you how you can bring some of that spice and fun to your own Christmas festivities these days!

Mexican Christmas Traditions

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Mexican Christmas Traditions - Zocalo, Mexico City Main Square with Christmas Tree
Mexican Christmas Traditions – Zocalo, Mexico City Main Square with Christmas Tree

 

Here we are looking at some of the fun and interesting Christmas traditions that happen in Mexico.

When Do They Celebrate Christmas In Mexico?

Christmas is still celebrated in December in Mexico thanks to when the Spanish brought over Catholicism with them back in the 1800s. The dates are actually quite similar to the rest of the West as Christmas in Mexico is celebrated from the 12th of December to the 6th of January.

Las Posadas

Mexican Christmas Traditions - Las Posadas

One of the popular Mexican Christmas Traditions with kids is called Las Posadas. The idea is that children walk around with lit candles singing songs and asking people for shelter.

The idea is that it represents Joseph and Mary looking for shelter in Bethlehem. Think of it as going Christmas caroling, this would be a fun one to do if you have kids.

A New Meal Each Night

Ok, so this one might be hard to pull off, but another one of the traditions of Las Posadas is that each night a different family will provide a meal and entertainment for their guests. If you can get a few other friends or family members in on this, you could maybe get a mini version of this going.

Las Pastorales

For the more theatrical types, there is Las Pastorales! This is where people (both adults and kids can get in on this) put on fun plays for people to watch. Typically, the shepherds following the stars are what these plays will be based on. Some people will make their plays and skits fun and lighthearted. Whereas others may want to be more serious.

Noche Buena

One of the Mexican Christmas traditions that are certainly a bit different in that the big event of the holidays is not Christmas Day, but Christmas eve! This is called Noche Buena and it is a big feast, gift exchanges, and all the fun you usually have on Christmas day, but on Christmas eve. People still have fun and celebrate on Christmas day, but it is more laid-back and like the traditional December 26th.

Misa de Gallo

The Misa de Gallo is a big deal when it comes to Christmas in Mexico. This is where people go to “mass” and it happens on Christmas eve too. Many places will have elaborate fireworks displays to celebrate Misa de Gallo which basically translates to Mass of the Rooster.

Los Santos Inocentes

On December 28th, people in Mexico celebrate Los Santos Inocentes which is called Day of the Innocent Saints in English.

The story behind this day is that it is to celebrate and honor the babies that King Herod ordered to be killed as he searched for Baby Jesus. Interestingly, this is one of the stranger Mexican Christmas traditions as it is much like April Fools where people will pay tricks and tell lies to each other.

One Last Party In February

While Christmas in Mexico “ends” on the 6th of January. There is one extra day of celebration on the 2nd of February. This is called La Calendaria and it is the very final Christmas celebration. Some places in Mexico go all out for this with huge parties and festivals.

Mexican Christmas Decorations

One of the most fun things about having a Mexican-themed Christmas is getting to decorate the house in a much more fun style. Here we are looking at some of the fun ways you can decorate your house if you are going for a Mexican Christmas this year.

Viva Pinata!

Mexican Star Christmas Pinata with Candy
Mexican Star Christmas Pinata with Candy

 

One of the most fun Mexican Christmas traditions involves that Mexican favorite, a pinata! That is right even at Christmas they get to smash a Pinata, but there is a special Christmas pinata that is usually used.

A Christmas pinata will be shaped like a ball and have the seven deadly sins represented by seven spikes. A person will still be blindfolded as normal with a pinata, but at Christmas time this represents blind faith.

Also, the stick they use is there to signify virtue. Even the candy inside has a special meaning as it is there to be a “sweet reward for having faith in God.

Nacimiento

Nacimiento - Mexican Style Nativity Scene
Nacimiento – Mexican Style Nativity Scene

 

Nacimiento is the much cooler way to say nativity scene in Spanish. These types of scenes are the most popular when it comes to décor for Christmas in Mexico.

These tend to be very elaborate and colorful and a real main feature of a home’s Christmas decorations. Some homes will actually forgo a Christmas tree and have their Nacimiento as their main decoration.

Poinsettias

Mexican Christmas Decorations - Poinsettias

 

These are special and lovely flowers that are actually from Mexico and one of the Mexican Christmas traditions that are actually celebrated in many parts of the world. These are a very nice shade of red and the idea is that they symbolize purity.

Paper Lanterns

Mexican Christmas Traditions - Pinata and Paper Lanterns
Pinata and Paper Lantern Decorations in Mexico

 

These are very popular and probably one of the main things people think of when it comes to Christmas in Mexico. People will make or buy paper lanterns and then display or release them. This tradition is there to represent making sure that the path Mary and Joseph are on is lit up, kind of like “lighting the way”.

Mexican Christmas Music

As is the case with most aspects of Mexican culture, music plays a big part when it comes to Christmas in Mexico. In Mexico Christmas songs are called, villancicos.

Canto Para Pedir Posada

Perhaps the most traditional of all the Christmas songs in Mexico is Canto Para Pedir Posada. This is sung on a nightly basis and tends to be sung by two groups of people (or even as a duet) with different parts of the song being sung by different singers.

Los Peces en el Río

This translates to The Fishes in the River and it is a song that is about the Virgin Mary washing clothes in the river. This is a very popular and real classic Christmas villancicos that is sung during Christmas time.

Canta, Rie, Bebe

A less religious Christmas song that is very popular is called, Canta, Rie, Bebe and this is Sing, Laugh, Drink. This is a more modern song and the idea here is to celebrate and encourage all the fun things that Christmas in Mexico stands for.

Ringing In The New Year

While we are talking about Mexican Christmas traditions, New Year does happen during this period and New Year Carols are a big part of Mexican Christmas culture. Cinco Pa’Las Doce is a song that is called 5 Minutes to Midnight and it is used to bring in the New Year by many people in Mexico.

Mexican Christmas Food

While you could perhaps get away with serving any kind of Mexican food during your Mexican Christmas festivities. Here are a few of the more traditional things that they do actually eat during Christmas time in Mexico.

Pozole

Mexican Christmas Food - Pozole

The main dish that is traditionally served on Christmas Eve is called Pozole. It is a nice and thick soup that consists of either chicken or pork, hominy, plenty of chilis, and some greens to cover it all.

There are many variations when it comes to Pozole so be sure to have a look and find one that will suit you and your guests the best.

The Big Feast!

While Pozole is the main feature of the meal that is served on Christmas. Even one of the most awesome Mexican Christmas traditions is the big Christmas feast that accompanies the Pozole! Some popular and traditional foods that are also served include salt cod, roast turkey, tamales, and roast pork.

Romeritos

Mexican Christmas Food - Romeritos

 

If you are feeling particularly adventurous and want to really go all-in with your Mexican Christmas theme, serving up Romeritos is a great idea! This dish is made of seepweed which is a vegetable and this is then cooked in a special mole sauce that also has shrimp and potato in it.

Christmas Eve Salad

Mexican Christmas Food - Mexcian Apple Salad

 

That is right, there is a healthy option too, Christmas Even Salad or as it is known in Mexico, Ensalada Nochebuena is a very popular salad. It consists of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and citrus dressing.

Truth be told, you could get away with just making your own salad and calling it Ensalada Nochebuena and get away with it!

Mexican Christmas Desserts

Now we are talking! We all know that Christmas in Mexico is sure to have some amazing desserts for people to enjoy. Here are a few of the most popular and notable Christmas desserts that people in Mexico are known to enjoy during Christmas.

Bunuelos

Mexican Christmas Food - Bunuelos

 

You cannot have a list of Mexican Christmas traditions and not have Bunuelos on it! This is the number one Christmas dessert when it comes to Mexico. These are amazing fried pastries that can be then tailored to each person’s personal taste.

Things like cinnamon and hot syrup are popular toppings, but some may want to use chocolate, caramel, or anything else that they can think of. You can also have fun making Bunuelos round or flat!

Rosca de Reyes

Mexican Christmas Food - Rosca de Reyes

 

Rosca de Reyes which is also called Three Kings Cake is a special cake that looks like a big donut. This tends to be eaten on Epiphany which happens on the 6th of January. This is a tasty cake that usually has fruit, nuts, and a whole lot of powdered sugar on the top.

One fun aspect of Rosca de Reyes is that usually there is a little Baby Jesus toy in the middle and whoever gets this once the cake is eaten is called the godparent of Baby Jesus until the next Epiphany.

Not only do you get some nice cake, but you also get to embrace a bit of Mexican culture too. Actually, in Louisiana, they have a dessert called King Cake and they do a similar thing.

Mexican Christmas Drinks

Like many other nations, Mexico loves to drink during the festive period! While you may serve up your favorite beers, spirits, and sodas. As we are looking at Mexican Christmas traditions it was only right to have a few Mexican favorites when it comes to Christmas drinks!

Rompope

Mexican Christmas Drinks - Rompope

 

Eggnog is one of the most iconic Christmas tradition drinks in many parts of the world and that does also ring true for Mexico. Only there their eggnog-style drink is called Rompope. It is traditionally filled with rum. How much rum? Well, that is really up to you and how drunk you want to get!

Ponche

Mexican Christmas Drinks - Ponche

 

A rather interesting drink that is popular during Christmas dinner is called Ponche. This is a punch that is made with fruit, but it is traditionally served warm. It may be an acquired taste due to it being warm, but it could be fun for people to try.

Mexican Alcohol!

While stuff like tequila and margaritas may not be a classic Mexican Christmas tradition, if you are having people over to have a Mexican Christmas, you will probably want to offer stuff like this.

You could also offer Mexican beer such as Corona, Sol, Modelo Especial, and Pacifico it may not exactly be authentic, but it could help people get into the spirit and be more willing to partake in the other Mexican Christmas traditions that you have going on.

Mexican Christmas Tree

Mexican Christmas Decorations - Christmas Tree

One of the most surprising things about Christmas in Mexico is that they tend to have the same style of Christmas trees as the rest of the world. Both real and fake are popular and while they look the same it is how they are decorated where you will find the biggest difference.

Mexican Christmas trees tend to focus more on religious-style ornaments than stuff like snowmen, Santa Claus, and reindeer. They tend to be very bright and colorful.

Some public areas in Mexico go all out with their Christmas tree display and they truly are quite spectacular.

What About Santa?

Santa was not actually part of the original celebration of Christmas in Mexico. While the traditional-looking Santa has become more prevalent in recent years, Mexico has a different way for children to get gifts on Christmas.

Día de Los Reyes

This is also known as The Day of the Kings and this happens on the 6th of January (Ephinany). As the Three Wise Men are such a huge part of Christmas in Mexico, it is them who are said to leave presents for children.

Baby Jesus

Another one of the more interesting Mexican Christmas traditions is that some people believe that their gifts are left by El Niñito Dios, Baby Jesus!

Santa Clos

While there is a Santa in Mexico he is more often referred to as Santa Clos or Papa Noel. If children are getting gifts from Santa Clos, these are traditionally given to them on the morning of Christmas eve.

Mexican Party Games

While these party games may not be what you would class as a traditional Mexican Christmas party game. You can still have some fun by incorporating classic Mexican party games into your festivities.

Sombrero Chili Pepper Challenge

Think of this as a game that is similar to “pass the parcel.” The idea is that you have some Mexican music playing and a sombrero.

You can either dance or just stand/sit in a circle. The sombrero is passed from head-to-head and the person who is wearing it when the music stops must eat a hot chili or pepper!

Mexican Train Dominos

This is a real favorite for a Cinco De Mayo party, but as it is a traditional Mexican game it could be fun for your Mexican Christmas shenanigans! This is a fun take on dominos where the idea is to build a “train” of dominos until they are all gone.

You can get a Mexican Train Dominos set on places like Amazon for 10 to 20 bucks.

Mexican Kickball

Granted you can only play this if you have the space for it, but this is a popular game played in many Mexican villages. Rather than being like baseball which is what you have with traditional “American” kickball.

The idea here is that each team member has to kick the ball through a target.

Nacho Eating Contest

While nachos may not be one of the most classic Mexican Christmas traditions, nachos are what most people think of when it comes to Mexican food. You can have a lot of fun by getting a load of nachos and seeing who can eat the most or eat them the fastest!

Pin The Tail On The Burro

Burro is such a better name than donkey don’t you think? You can get a pin the tail on the burro kit for around the ten bucks mark and it is sure to be a hit at your party.

You can have fun prizes for people that manage to do it. Also, you can have a bit of extra fun by making people take a shot of tequila or some kind of Mexican beer before they try and do it.

Final Thoughts On Mexican Christmas Traditions

One of the things that surprise many people about Christmas in Mexico is just how similar it is to what North America has. Sure, there are differences, but at the heart of it, the core values are very, very similar.

We have had fun sharing these Mexican Christmas traditions with you and we hope that you have a fantastic Christmas and that your friends and family embrace and enjoy your Mexican Christmas festivities.

More Christmas Traditions

Mexican Christmas Traditions

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