The first thing you need to understand about Christmas traditions in Mexico is the tradition of posadas. This translates to mean “inn” in English, and the celebration begins on December 16th. Each night from the 16th until the 24th, children go from door to door singing and asking if there’s an open room at the “inn.” This is meant to represent the story of Mary and Joseph, but modern-day traditions feature a posada party at the end of each night.
If you thought the offerings at the Day of the Dead festivals were impressive, then just wait until you the some of the more elaborate nativity scenes in Mexico. Because the culture is still quite religious, the Christmas season is rooted in the Christian story of the birth of Baby Jesus. Therefore, Christmas nativity scenes are important. However, you won’t find Baby Jesus inside of the manger until the 24th.
Head to any posada party and you’ll undoubtedly find a piñata hanging from the ceilings. These are popular additions to nearly every Mexican festivity, and the tradition carries over into Christmas as well. At Christmastime, however, the piñatas have seven different spikes around them to represent the seven deadly sins.
Ponche is pretty much the Mexican equivalent of the kind of mulled wine you’ll find at European Christmas markets. The warm Christmas punch is made with fruit. And, Rompope is the equivalent of egg nog. You’ll pretty much always find it spiced to perfection and full of really strong rum. So, it’s creamy, filling, and quite alcoholic, usually.
According to Mexican tradition, Día de Los Reyes is celebrated with rosca de reyes, a ringed cake with a baby figurine baked into the batter, topped with fruit in the colors of the Mexican flag. Tradition dictates that whoever finds the baby must bring tamales to the February.
February 2nd might be the day of the coveted tamale party. But, it also marks the end of the Mexican Christmas season. The day itself is called Día de la Calendaria, and it’s marked by lots of crazy parties and festivities to end the wonderful holiday season.