Mexican Christmas is very different from the other parts of the world, though they share many traditions that are similar to the Spanish. As with any other religious holiday, the Mexicans take time to prepare themselves for the celebrations. In the case of Mexican Christmas, this preparation takes place during the nine days preceding Christmas’ Eve, or Noche Buena (December 24th). This period of nine days is called Novena, and is perhaps the most symbolic of all Mexican Christmas traditions. Their main Christmas celebration is called La Posada, which is a religious procession that re-enacts the search for shelter by Joseph and Mary, before the birth of Jesus. During the procession, the celebrants go from house to house carrying the images of Mary and Joseph looking for shelter. Anyone would be astonished to see the kind of importance that they present to the birth of Jesus and the relative absence of Santa Claus. There are no presents for the children on Christmas in Mexico. The presents’ giveaway is featured six days after the New Year’s Day, on the “Dia de los Santos Reyes Magos”. In case you have been inspired with the traditional Mexican Christmas celebrations and want your house to reflect the Mexican touch, reading this article would help. In the following lines, we have mentioned some of the traditional Mexican decorations. Go ahead and give your dwelling a Mexican feel!
Traditional Mexican Christmas Decoration Ideas
La Flor De Noche Buena
Even though Santa Claus is not predominant, the bright red color is. It is represented in the form of the traditional flower of the season. This flower is known as La Flor De Noche Buena (Poinsettia in English speaking world) and has a brilliant red star-shaped bloom. According to folklore, it is believed that a young boy walking to the church to see the nativity scene showing the birth of Jesus had realized on the way that he had no gift to offer the Christ child. So he gathered up some plain green branches on his way. As he walked in, he was laughed at by the people, but upon placing the branches near the manger, they started to bloom and a bright red poinsettia flower emerged on each of the branch. This Christmas, style your house with this pious flower. Right from table centerpieces to wreaths, you can decorate your house with La Flor De Noche Buena and revel in the Mexican feel.
The Nativity Scene
Nativity scenes which Mexicans call Nacimientos are a very important part of the Christmas traditions in Mexico, because most of the celebration revolves around the birth of Christ. Mexicans revere the Nativity so much that they recreate it with Las Posadas. Life size nativities are common in churches or public places, and smaller ones in homes, where many collect and display them under the Christmas tree. The guests then get together around the scene, and say different prayers, including the Spanish Rosary, and finally sing the typical Mexican Christmas songs. Once you have decorated your house with the blissful red flower, make sure you project a nativity scene at one part of your house.
Every small item that you use forms a part of the bigger picture. Though the nativity scene and the La Flor De Noche Buena flowers would give a Mexican touch to your house, the decorations would still look incomplete if you do not use the traditional Mexican ornaments. Mexican Christmas ornaments and decorations are mostly hand created by folk artists in painted tin, clay wrought iron and hand blown glass. Other decorations include typical Mexican ornaments made of paja or straw, a star or an angel on the top of the tree, Christmas lights, and silver streamers wrapped around the tree to simulate snow.
You can install a piñata in the living room to add to the Mexican aura of your house. A piñata is a figure, usually made from a clay pot covered with paper mache and decorated in bright colors, with candy and fruit inside. At Christmas parties piñatas are suspended from a rope and children, usually blind-folded, take turns hitting it with a stick until it breaks and the candy falls out onto the ground and the children rush to collect it. Breaking the piñata is a fun activity at Mexican parties.
The original piñata was shaped like a star with seven points. The points represented the seven deadly sins, while the bright colors of the piñata symbolize temptation. The blindfold represents faith and the stick is virtue or the will to overcome sin. The candies and other goodies inside the piñata are the riches of the kingdom of heaven. Thus, the activity teaches children that with faith and virtue, they can overcome sin and receive all the rewards of heaven. Modern piñatas come in a wide variety of designs, such as cartoon characters and animals.
Mexicans are known world over for using luminarias for Christmas lighting. Traditional Christmas luminaries are made from brown paper bags weighted down with sand and illuminated from within by a lit candle. These are typically arranged in rows to create large and elaborate displays. The hope among Roman Catholics is that the lights will guide the spirit of the Christ child to one's home. This Christmas, light your house in a similar fashion and guide yourself to a Mexican themed Christmas celebration!