Ah, the holidays! There’s a reason we call them the most wonderful time of the year. And of course, as anyone from a large Mexican family knows, the holidays are an incredible time to come together, celebrate our culture, and have fun with age-old traditions we remember fondly from our childhoods.
In today’s blog, let’s talk about some of the MexiCrate team’s favorite holiday traditions: from Las Posadas to pastorelas to Noche Buena and everything in between!
And while we’re at it, don’t forget to stock up on your favorite Mexican candies in preparation for the winter holidays. Let the dulce de leche and tamarindo flow!
Las Posadas — Starting December 1st
In Mexico, Christmas celebrations start a long time before the big day. Starting December 1st, many Mexican families celebrate Las Posadas, nightly holiday celebrations based on the Biblical stories of Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem. Like many religious traditions, the Posadas focus on aspects of the Biblical stories that can be applied to our everyday lives — while involving a ton of celebration and classic Mexican food, of course.
Celebrated in both private parties and public celebrations, a Posada night may include things like pastorelas — religious holiday songs recounting various parts of the Mary and Joseph story — or symbolic dance performances. You may also find carolers going from home to home singing these pastorelas.
Around December 16th, many families add Nativity scenes, or Nacimientos, into their holiday Posadas — figurines representing different characters from the story of Jesus’s birth, adding one new figure every day until the holiday scene is complete. Many of our team’s Nacimientos figurines have been passed down through generations, and adding pieces day by day is an integral part of our annual holiday celebrations.
Dia de la Virgen de Guadalupe — December 12th
On December 12th, people from all over Mexico travel to Mexico City and the Basilica of Guadalupe, a famous church holding the world-famous statue La Virgen Morena, the Virgin Mary. This one-day celebration ends with a fireworks display, parades, and live performances from artists and musicians all over Mexico City, which are broadcast to the rest of the country and to Mexican families around the world. It’s an explosion of music, color, and street food, and a sign that Christmas is just around the corner.
Noche Buena — December 24th
Christmas in Mexico is celebrated much the same in Mexico as it is around the world, with a few key differences. You may have fond memories of Christmas Eve dinners with your family, followed by the opening of presents at midnight. This is commonly known as Noche Buena, Christmas Eve or “the good night,” in Mexican holiday traditions.
The big Christmas meal is typically enjoyed on December 24th, a day that holds great societal and religious importance for Mexican families. Afterwards, many families attend a midnight mass at their local church, then gather for presents! Among the MexiCrate team, many of us stayed up until midnight to open our Christmas presents, while some of our families waited until Dia de los Reyes Magos, or Three Kings Day, in early January.
On our dinner tables you’ll find classic Christmas favorites like roast turkey and vegetables, but we haven’t forgotten our Mexican favorites! Many of our Christmas meal traditions include things like romeritos con mole and (our founder’s personal favorite) fresh tamales. For dessert, the kids stuff their faces (and pockets) with classic Mexican candies and desserts, like Mexican hojarascas cookies.
Navidad — December 25th
With the big celebration happening on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day — or Navidad — is a much lower-key holiday for most Mexican families. Because Navidad is traditionally a day for rest and reflection, many MexiCrate team members recall festive, relaxed church services followed by one of the best parts of the Christmas season — leftovers!
Some families also have individual food traditions for Navidad, like Mexican oxtail soup or pozole, a Mexican stew made by slow-cooking proteins like pork and chorizo. (If there’s one fun fact about Mexican holiday traditions we all know, it’s that we have some of the best holiday foods in the world!)
Dia de los Santos Inocentes — December 28th
A lesser-known Mexican holiday tradition is the celebration of The Sainted Innocents. Not to be confused with April Fools’ Day, Dia de los Santos Inocentes is a fun-filled winter tradition where families — especially the kids — play pranks on each other. This is one of our smaller traditions, but it’s still a ton of fun!!
New Year’s Eve — December 31st
Finally, New Year’s Eve in Mexico — like many New Year’s Eve celebrations around the world — focuses on remembering the year gone by and setting our sights on the year ahead. This is another day of rest for our families — well-deserved after an entire month of celebration! Instead of the raucous parties you might find in the US or Europe, New Year’s Eve in Mexico is traditionally celebrated with a small family gathering or individual resolutions and reflections.
Some traditions can be celebrated solo, like eating twelve grapes to symbolize setting an intention for every month of the Año Nuevo (New Year), or wearing a different-colored pair of underwear (yes, really!) to symbolize what you are most visualizing for the year ahead — like green for your family’s good health, or yellow for improving your income.
Ultimately, most Mexicans remember New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are a time to relax and reconnect with family, as we prepare for an abundant year ahead.
Celebrate the Winter Holidays with Your Favorite Mexican Candies
Don’t forget the January holidays! The early weeks of the New Year feature festivals and celebrations like the Dance of the Parachicos, Dia de los Reyes Magos (with its own traditional cake!), Three Kings Day, the Fiesta Grande de Enero (the “Great January Feast”), and more. Mexico is a country with a rich holiday tradition, perfectly encapsulated by the delectable and traditional foods passed down through generations.
To get in the spirit of the holidays, treat yourself and your family to the best Mexican candies shipping worldwide — our Dulceria features all your childhood favorites alongside new, delicious treats sure to tantalize the tastebuds! But don’t just take our word for it: Grab a variety box or sign up for our monthly subscription boxes for artfully curated, nostalgically-inspired candy collections that show off the best of Mexican candy culture.
From our table to yours — the MexiCrate team wishes you the happiest of holidays!