Thursday, December 15, 2016

Mexican Christmas Traditions by Lindsey Hill

Christmas Traditions in Mexico : ¡Feliz Navidad!
People say that if you travel to Mexico, you will never want to leave. Every year, on average millions of tourists pass through Mexico, and they are always welcomed. Most visitors fall under North Americans, who are vacationing on the various beaches of Cancun, Acapulco, Mazatan, and Puerto Vallarta. The exotic beaches are by far the best when it comes to scenic views, but those who venture inward get the experience of the true soul of Mexico. Mexico has nearly two million square miles of coastline, desert, rain forest, mountains, and fertile plains with a population of about 106 million people.
There is no doubt that, Arkansas and Mexico are completely different, but one thing they both have in common is that they both have Christmas or concerning Mexico, Las Posadas. In Mexico, the Christmas holiday is celebrated from December 12th to January 6th.
Instead of decorating their homes with inflatable santas and twinkling lights, people in Mexico decorate with lilies and evergreens. Oftentimes, families cut intricate designs in brown paper bags to make lanterns called “farolitos.” Then, they place a candle inside of them and then sit them on the sidewalks, windowsills, and on rooftops to illuminate their community with the spirit of Las Posadas. The largest ever Angel Ornament that was ever made, was made in Mexico. The Angel was 18’3” high and had a wingspan of 11’9.” It was oddly enough made out of 2,946 old beer bottles.  
The first eight evenings of Las Posadas is when the children try to break open the piñata. A pinata is a container often made of paper-mãché, pottery, or cloth; it is decorated, and filled with small toys, or candy, or both, and then broken as part of the celebration.
On Christmas Eve night, families have their Christmas dinner and at midnight, many people go to a mass service, followed by lots of fireworks that go along to celebrate Christmas Day or Las Posadas. Their Christmas dinner entails of oxtail soup with beans and hot chili, followed by roasted turkey and a special salad of fresh fruits and vegetables.
As part of their celebration, most families eat a special cake called “Rosca de Reyes,” as known as “Three Kings Cake.” A figure of baby Jesus is hidden inside one of the pieces of cake, and whoever has the piece with the baby Jesus hidden in it… is the ‘Godparent’ of the baby Jesus for that entire year.
In the duration of Las Posadas, people also celebrate “Los Santos Inocentes” as known as “Day of the Innocent Saints.” This celebration takes place on December 28, and it resembles the “holiday” of April Fools in the United States. This day serves as a memorial for when the babies were killed in biblical times on the orders of King Herod when he was trying to kill baby Jesus.  
On the eve of the twelfth night, also known as January 5th, many of the children receive gifts from the Reyes Magos. The Reyes Magos are known as the Three Kings who pass through on their way to Bethlehem. Children leave their shoes on their windowsills and then they find them filled with gifts the next morning. The “Three Kings” serve the same concept as Santa Claus.
Mexico is known for lots of cultural differences, and one of those differences falls under how they celebrate Christmas. Christmas may not have the same meaning to them as it does us, but people in Mexico do see it as a time to be with their loved ones, as well as we do.

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