The celebration of Mexican Christmas traditions will usually commence on the 12th December and finish on the 6th January.
During this time-frame a collection of new ideas and age old traditions combine to create the unique celebration of Christmas in Mexico.
Many of the festivals focus on re-inactment. For example Los Posadas re-inacts the nativity scenes of Mary and Joseph looking for a place to rest in Bethlehem. The Christmas tradition is acted out each year by a procession of Mexican people starting on the 16th December and finishing on Christmas Eve.
During the festival of Los Posadas, the group will stop by at homes asking for shelter. They will be refused entry until reaching their final location, where the party will be welcomed in to pray. Los Posadas lasts for nine days with each day representing a month in pregnancy.
Christianity and the Roman Catholic faith is the main religion in Mexico. In fact the vast majority of people are practicing Catholics. It is therefore easy to understand why Christmas is considered to be such an important time within Mexico culture.
In many parts of the country, you will find no mention of father Christmas or Santa Claus. You would instead be presented with the traditional religious meaning and explanations for the festival.
In some locations, the children are not given presents on Christmas day. In these locations it is part of an old age tradition to provide presents for children on the 6th January. It is a popular custom to leave the children's shoes outside the door, then overnight gifts would be placed in them.
It is common practice for the whole family to get together to celebrate midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. Afterwards the family will gather to have a celebration dinner with traditional recipes and a selection of home cooked food.
Mexican people will usually decorate their homes for with impressive Nativity sets, there may also be a Pinata for the children.
It is typical for people to be very accommodating and welcoming during this season. For example, those without families are usually more than welcome to join in the Christmas celebrations and their is a real community feel. In modern times, some traditional customs in Mexico are changing and being adapted from their original concepts. This development usually occurs within the major cities on the map of Mexico.
One thing is for certain however, Christmas in Mexico is a very special time, the traditions and customs may develop over time, but the meaning and importance will always remain the same.