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Nov 30, 2002, 9:42 AM

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How do different people celebrate Christmas in Mexico if at all?
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Nov 30, 2002, 1:08 PM

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Re: [Roses5410] Christmas

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To find out.... click on this link to Mexico Connect's Christmas Special:

By the way (and slightly off the topic), in B.C. Canada right now, there is a big debate in progress as to whether schools should be allowed to use the word "Christmas" (as in Christmas Concerts) or have to use the more politically correct (or downright daft, depending on your point of view) "Winter" as in "Winter Concert"!

Happy Winter, everyone! Seasonal greetings, whatever your faith or beliefs!

jennifer rose

Nov 30, 2002, 1:28 PM

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Re: [Roses5410] Christmas

Yes, we have Christmas in Mexico. Do we ever! Sometimes I think it must’ve been invented here.

Although Costco unveiled its displays of Christmas merchandise back in August, and fresh Christmas trees went on a sale a few weeks ago, Christmas in Mexico officially begins with Día de Virgen Guadalupe on 12 December and concludes on Candlemas, which is 2 February. I like to to think that it’s over on 6 January, Dia de los Reyes.

Only 25 December and 1 January are official federal holidays, so don’t expect anyone to be working at full force during Navidad. It just isn’t going to happen, so you might as well join in the merriment. After all, there are posadas, dinners, brunches, coffees and parties to attend, ponche to be drunk, and, of course, the shopping.

20 December marks the official day by which the aguinaldo, or Christmas bonus, must be paid, and the buying frenzy begins. The federal labor code mandates that employees must be paid 15 days’ worth of salary.

Our grocery stores are filled with Spanish turrones, castanas, Noche Buena beer, bacalao, and even imported fruitcakes.

Now, there are many kinds of people in Mexico, and just as many traditions. Not everyone marches in the lockstep of a single tradition.

One of the classic beverages is ponche, a drink made of cinnamon, stewed fruits and sugar cane – overly sweet, served warmed, and not infrequently tasting like hot cough syrup. On a cold winter night, it can be quite tasty.

Throughout the season, in some parts of the country – obviously the colder areas – fogatas (bonfires) are set in the street.

And the posadas, piñatas, pastorelas! And the fireworks!!!

The traditional Christmas meal – which can range from chivo to pavo relleno to mole and bacalao Vizcaya – is served on Christmas Eve. Whoops, I forgot to mention the romeritos with dried shrimp. Or it can be as simple as tamales in some households. Or the festive ensalada Navidena, a salad which includes beets, jicama, orange or grapefruit, and candy.

And then there’s the rooster mass, at midnight.

Christmas Day is a non-event in many households, still in recuperation from the night-before’s festivities. Or it can mean a cockfight.

Some people have nativity scenes set up in their homes, and others have one or more traditional Christmas trees. Some folks decorate their houses with lights, and others don’t do anything particularly special. The major children’s toyfest takes place on the morning of 6 January, a day on which they still have to attend school. In some families, that’s the only Christmas gift-giving experience. Others practice a tradition Christmas gift-giving as well as something on Day of the Kings. One friend described the Christmas as the time for a family-oriented gift like a new computer and those sweaters that elderly aunts simply must knit for her sobrinos, leaving Day of the Kings as the opportunity for giving a child the toys he or she really wanted.

The traditional food of Dia de los Reyes is a rosca de reyes, a ring-shaped bread studded with fruits. Some curmudgeons joke that the only thing worse than a small piece of rosca is a large one. Tiny baby figures are placed in the bread, and whomever receives a slice with the figure is expected to throw a party – or at least provide tamales – on 2 February. Just to make sure, the rosca contains several figurines.

For me, the Christmas season officially begins with the Day of the Virgen de la Salud, where she is honored in Pátzcuaro with the march of the mojigangas, and ends somewhere shortly after the Fuego Nuevo de Purépecha.

For even more about how Christmas is celebrated in Mexico, there’s no better resource than Mexico Connect’s Christmas Index, which can be found at

(This post was edited by jenniferrose on Nov 30, 2002, 7:32 PM)


Nov 30, 2002, 4:56 PM

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Re: [tonyburton] Christmas

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<...whether schools should be allowed to use the word "Christmas"...>

Before you know it, we won't have any holidays because they might offend someone...I think they (Americans definitely included) always take it a bit too far in the name of "political correctness". Who coined that phrase anyway and when was it first used? Just curious...
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Nov 30, 2002, 5:19 PM

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Re: [Roses5410] Christmas

Christmas is great where we spend it with family near Guadalajara.... No advertising, No television telling children what to buy..... (The parents control the TV), singing door to door for nights and nights before Xmas eve. Nativity Scenes all over, even in front of homes that have a blanket for a door... No matter how poor one might be, the Baby Jesus is at every home... At midnight the baby Jesus is put in his crib after all kiss him and then all go home. In the morning the children find their gifts in or next to their shoes. Not at all like the commercial grab in the US...


Nov 30, 2002, 6:08 PM

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Re: [Nick] Christmas

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Yes...Christmas is one of my most favorite holidays...but it has become much too commercialized and I'm afraid many of the children are too spoiled by receiving too much and things they don't really need...

The day after Thanksgiving, here state-side, is supposedly one of the biggest shopping days of the year. I just heard of two people getting into a fist fight in the parking lot, no less, over a parking space!

Wouldn't it be wonderful to have a Christmas like I had as a child...everyone you passed greeted you with a cheerful "Merry Christmas", it was a given that families with all of their children (not just the very young ones) would drive through the neighborhoods to see the Christmas trees decorated in the windows of the homes...It was much more of a family, "giving from the heart" holiday than it is now - the gifts were fewer and smaller and meant more to the it seems to be more of "what do I get"...

Mexico, it's festiveness, traditions & laid back atmosphere seem so appealing...the world needs to slow down a bit and take a lesson from Mexico!
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Nov 30, 2002, 6:27 PM

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Yes, Mexico does Christmas best NMSG


jennifer rose

Nov 30, 2002, 6:53 PM

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Re: [Roses5410] Christmas

Christmas in many, many parts of Mexico is just as commercial as you’ll find anywhere. Yes, there’s advertising, from the television to specially packaged cans of Coca-Cola. Walmart and Costco are stacked to the rafters with Christmas chazerai all the way from Billy the Big-Mouth Bass singing Christmas carols (well, that was 2 years ago) and his kin, made-in-China Christmas dinnerware, angels and tree ornaments, icicle Christmas lights, fake trees, real trees, Father Christmas, Mrs. Santa Claus, Christmas wrapping, Christmas towels, and plastic snowmen. On the street vendors are selling hats with reindeer antlers. HomeMart has giant fresh pine Christmas trees on sale, two for the price of one. And tonight everyone was buying like there was no tomorrow.

Street markets are full of vendors selling tinsel, all forms of piñatas, glass and plastic ornaments, ribbon, and more.

In the days before Dia de los Reyes, lines form for blocks at Monte de Piedad, where parents pawn whatever they can to borrow money for children’s gifts. Those who can borrow money (the aguinaldo from 20 December has already been spent) from other sources. Superstores stay open until 2 a.m. and even more toys are being sold from huge semis.

‘Tis festive. High octane.

Laid-back, hardly.


Nov 30, 2002, 7:23 PM

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Re: [jenniferrose] Christmas

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<..‘Tis festive. High octane. Laid-back, hardly..>

Guess I should have clarified that when I said laid back I was referring to the "manana" thing... High octane? Jennifer, that sounds really festive! :) I like festive...

Yes, I guess you can find the commercialization of Christmas and other holidays in all's a shame sometimes that they overdo it...

You know, I've learned through my 48 years that there is no such thing as a perfect place. Once you realize that, you can focus on the positives (as long as there are not too many negatives to go with it of course).

A bit off the topic - I've observed in many of the postings here...some people expect every country to function as their own country would function (customs, time frames, etc.). Some of us need to be more open minded and remember..."when in Rome..." I'm not perfect, mind you, but I try to keep an open mind and respect the culture and customs of that country. Wish we could all me a bit more mindfull of that.

I do enjoy reading all the postings which offer so much's all useful both the positives and the negatives...
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