Christmas will soon be here. Already in Puerto Vallarta we are seeing displays in Costco, every major grocery store, and the malls are falling suit. We look forward to the palm trees, some buildings and streets being decorated with lights and colored ribbons, Christmas music, and yes our fake pine tree in all its glory. However, it feels like more of the true spirit of Christmas is celebrated in Mexico with family, neighbours, and friends old and new.
According to LiveScience 85% of Mexicans are reportedly Catholic (the second largest population of Catholics in the World) so Christmas is a big deal in Mexico. We are talking santa at the malls, lots of parties, decorations, special mass, children write letter asking for what they’d like, Christmas dinner at the restaurants and homes of loved ones: very much what we are used to in Canada / USA – but there is also much more.
Spain introduced Roman Catholicism to Mexico in the 1500’s. After 5 centuries as Roman Catholics, nearly everyone goes to mass in Mexico, especially around Christmas time. All the churches are bursting full and even large open air mass is conducted.
From what I’ve seen, no one celebrates in Canada quite like they do in Mexico. Kicking off the first 12 days of December there are parades in Puerto Vallarta with elaborate costumes to honor Our Lady of Guadaloupe, also known as the Blessed Virgin Guadaloupe, the Roman Catholic name for the Virgin Mary.
At Christmas parties called “posadas” there is a reenactment Mary and Joseph in search of a room before Christ was born, they have music, food, and serve a special Christmas cake / sweet bread called Roscon de Reyes (kings ring) with colourful green and red fruits and prizes baked inside. If you get the baby Christ, you host a dinner party with tamales January 6th for “Días de los Reyes Magos” to celebrate the 3 kings visiting baby Jesus.