Noche Buena: Christmas in Mexico
Christmas is a celebration of family, love and happiness. In Mexico, this time of the year is full of exciting traditions, delicious food and fun events.
All begins on December 16th with the “Posadas,” a mix between parade and theatre play with a religious background. During the following nights until 24th, people will accompany María and José as they search for an inn where they can rest and receive baby Jesus.
Children pass from door to door to sing a song and ask if there’s a symbolic room for them. The carolers inside the doors respond back, denying entry. After the round of knocking and singing is finished, everyone enters the chosen house and shares drinks and snacks.
A piñata is a decorated jar filled with sweets and hung from the ceiling or tree branch. Children take turns to hit the piñata with a stick until it splits open and the sweets pour out. Then they rush to pick up as many sweets as they can.
A flower for the fiestas.
Poinsettia is a species native to Mexico and Central America. Formerly this flower was used in religious rituals, herbal remedies, and to make pigments. Later, it became one of the symbols of Christmas.
According to the legend, there was a poor girl called Pepita, who had no present to give. So she picked a small handful of herbs from the roadside and made them into a small bouquet.
Pepita placed the present at the bottom of the nativity scene of her church. Suddenly, the bundle of plants burst into bright red blossoms, and everyone who saw them was sure they had witnessed a miracle. From that day on, the colourful red flowers were known as the ‘Flores de Noche Buena,’ or ‘Flowers of the Holy Night.’
Christmas Eve, known as “Noche Buena” is when family reunites and share a meal.
One of the standard plates to serve in these feasts is Pozole. The thick soup can be made with pork or chicken and then seasoned with garlic and peppers. Later it’s garnished with thinly sliced lettuce leaves, cabbage, oregano, avocado and lime.
There is also Romeritos: tender sprigs of seepweed, which are boiled and served in a sauce seasoned with shrimp jerky blended into the mix. And Bacalao a la Vizcaína, a stew-like recipe prepared from dried salted codfish.
Dessert is often bunuelos. These are fried pastries sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon or sugar syrup. Usually come in two shapes, flat and round.