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Mexican Christmas Traditions

Christmas is a religious holiday in Mexico. It is a celebration of the Nativity which means the birthday of Lord Jesus. There are many Mexican Christmas traditions. Some of these traditions originated in Spain and others developed due to Mexico's history.
Christmas celebration in Mexico is known as Posadas which take place on the nine days before Christmas. From the 16th to the 24th processions define Mary and Joseph's search for shelter in Bethlehem.

These processions lead to a different house every night for the culmination of the posada - a fiesta. Some families in Mexico have Christmas trees. Nativity scenes are very common for Christmas decoration and many families have elaborate Nativity scenes in their homes or yards and there are also many public nacimientos and some attractive folk art nativity scenes.

The nacimiento is usually set up on December 16th, the baby Jesus is added at night on December 24th and the three kings are added on January 5th. Pastorelas are dramatically presentations of the shepherds (los pastores) on their way to see baby Jesus.

These originated during Mexico's colonial period, but have changed over time and are now light-hearted comedic presentations. The shepherds meet various obstacles on their tour, with devils and angels making appearances, trying to influence them of the way they should take.

Christmas carols are known as villancicosin. Some of these may be very close to the translations of songs in English, such as Noche de Paz, the Spanish version of Silent Night, and some are totally different, such as Las Campanas de Belen and Los Peces en el Rio. Christmas Eve is Nochebuena. This is the night of the last posada. People go to midnight mass and then have a dinner with their families. Santa Claus is becoming more and more famous in Mexican Christmas celebrations.