Navidad is one of the Mexican celebrations that is full of Tradition.
It starts on the 12th of December (the day of the Virgin of Guadalupe) and ends on the El día de la candelaria on February the 2nd. And like every Mexican tradition it is a fine syncretism of catholic religion and Aztec rituals, the marriage of paganism and religious fervor. Also like every Mexican festivity, food plays a mayor role.
There are over 150 special recipes made for Noche Buena (holly night on the 24th) including hot drinks and candy. The whole Mary and Joseph tale of looking for a place to stay is reenacted over and over in the Traditional Posadas that start on the 16th of December until the 24th where families get together to eat, sing and remember Jesus birth. On the 25th a statue of baby Jesus gets dressed and mass in held in his honor. A full week goes on after with many recalentados (leftovers) finishing on the 6th of January Día de Reyes (when the three kings or wise men arrived to meet Jesus with offerings) on the 6th of January with a big Rosca de reyes (a large size donut with fruit) with tiny plastic baby jesus´s hiding inside. Who ever gets a baby on their piece, will have to invite everyone a feast of Tamales and Atole on Día de la candelaría
..So yes..it is busy, yummy and at times overwhelming but on this side of the world Navidad is a thing called Christmas Day celebrated on the 25th on a deck or at the beach with sandals and togs, having Pavlova cake, beer and roasted meat, pork or chicken, opening prezzies (gifts) and popping Christmas crackers (a paper cylinder that is pulled apart at Christmas or other celebrations, making a sharp noise and releasing a small toy or a written joke).
On the 26th Boxing Day is celebrated (originally it was money collected by the church in boxes to give to the poor on the Day after Christmas) by people going out shopping again as it is a national sale day on every single store nationwide).
I do confess that I have enjoyed the simplicity of New Zealand Christmas and the true feeling of a Holiday rather than spending 3 days on a row on endless cooking and dishwashing.
Then again…It has been more than a decade since I celebrated Navidad and I really miss it!
Here is a fabulous post on one of the main drinks served during Mexican Christmas celebrations.