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Guadalupe Reyes Marathon: Mexican Christmas Food and Traditions

Guadalupe Reyes Marathon: Mexican Christmas Food and Traditions

We are so close to Christmas Holidays and to gathering with loved ones to celebrate this time of the year. Christmas lights everywhere announce that the festive spirit is in the air.

While Christmas Day and Boxing Day are the most important days during this week in the U.K., Mexico celebrates this season on different dates and ways. For example, Mexicans don't celebrate Boxing Day at all. Also, some states of Mexico have their own unique way to celebrate this season. Finally, the food served during this season may differ from the regular menu of the U.K.

To learn more about Mexican traditions or cuisine during these festivities, keep reading and be amazed by some of the differences.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day (Noche Buena & Navidad):

Christmas Eve is a significant night for Mexicans. It may be even more than Christmas day itself. Why? Because it is a moment where families gather and exchange gifts after enjoying delicious seasonal dishes. Since we do the Christmas exchange on 24, it is tradition to spend this day with the family and to have the last Posada. Which is where we can either smash a pinata or do sing the traditional posada chant.

Christmas Eve dinner usually takes place late at night, so that the Christmas gift exchange happens after midnight.

On Christmas Day, the family and friends gather again to have the leftovers from Christmas Eve dinner. This reunion is well known as “Recalentado”.

This takes place earlier afternoon during the Mexican lunch time (2pm-3 pm)

It also gives the kids the perfect excuse to bring the presents they got from Santa Claus and play with them.

Even though the food served are considered leftovers, the quantities are considered for both days when cooking it for Christmas Eve Dinner.

Mexican Christmas Cuisine:

Although the Christmas dishes in Mexico don’t differ from most countries, Mexicans add their special touch. Yes, you can find roast turkey, with either cranberry sauce or gravy, and smashed potatoes on the Christmas traditional menu. But some families also have Pozole (which is perfect for any time of the year), Tamales, Tacos, Bacalao, Romeritos, Shrimp Broth or a creamy Pasta mixed with either chipotle or Chile Poblano.

The dessert is an essential part of the dinner as well. The amazing buñuelos, churros, rice pudding or a delicious cake will also be served.

Every one of these desserts can and will be accompanied by the famous Mexican Christmas Punch. A mouth-watering choice due to its sweet ingredients: Sugar Cane, Guava, Cinnamon, hibiscus flowers and red fruits. The punch can be mixed with Mezcal, Tequila or Rum to make it a Punch with Piquete (Alcohol)


Christmas Pastorelas:

During Christmas celebrations all over Mexico, the Pastorelas are famous and almost impossible to not hear about one happening near you. But what is a Pastorela? This is a theatrical representation of the journey that the followers of Mary, Joseph and the new-born Jesus Christ went through.

Usually, this takes place in schools, Christmas markets or theatres all over Mexico. However, they are mainly from Tepotzotlan in Estado de Mexico (close to Mexico City). It is tradition to enjoy the pastorela and stay for a cosy meal, including punch and tamales. Mariachis and fireworks can also be found in Tepotzotlan’s pastorelas.

The favourite spots and traditions for the New Year’s Celebration.

The ending of a current year is a significant celebration worldwide.

Although some prefer to spend these festivities with friends over family, the traditions stay the same.

Mexicans have some New Year’s rituals repeated year after year and generation after generation.

The most common one is to eat 12 grapes when the bells ring, announcing the beginning of the new year. Each grape represents a wish for the next months to come.

For travel lovers, it is common to go around the corner with a suitcase to increase the chances to travel during the year. So yes, it is superstitious.

Finally, there is the underwear tradition. There are different colours of underwear to use during this eve. The most common ones are red (for good luck with love) and Yellow or Gold (for good luck with money)

Mexico is well known for its beautiful beaches. These are the favourite spot for Mexicans to spend the New Year's celebrations. Whether it is Cancun, Tulum, La Paz, Puerto Vallarta, Acapulco or Playa del Carmen, the nightclubs and the incomparable sight are the best companions to welcome the new year to come.

Of course, the food cannot be ignored during this holiday. So, on the 1st of January, the family gather to have a fantastic brunch and welcome the following months and expectations to come.

Christmas Traditions all over Mexico

While most of the traditions previously detailed takes place on all over the country, there are some regions that add their special touch to this festivity.

Oaxaca for example, has their common Noche de los Rabanos (Night of the Radishes).

Each 23rd of December, Oaxacan artisans start creating sculptures using only radishes. At the end of the day, the sculptures are finished, and the winner of the contest is announced.

On Yucatan, the Rama tradition takes place during the whole month of December. This means the kids create an altar for Lady of Guadalupe and decor it with flowers to walk through the street singing Christmas Carols.

Finally on the north of the country, some families have stocking next to their Christmas Tree. This due to the American influence.

Mexican culture, as its cuisine, is very wide. It is not easy to centralize all Christmas traditions in one state or one point of view. Every state tradition and cuisine add to the entirely Mexican Culture a unique part that makes it so rich and popular around the world. 


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