Season’s Greetings to everyone! Today is a pretty busy and exciting day. I kicked off my annual Christmas Book Bash on my own personal author blog (tons of giveaways!!), I wrapped up a sexy shifter short story that has a hero I feel absolutely head of heels for and the family is getting ready for our Christmas cookie baking on the weekend.
Lots going on and to keep up with, but that’s what the holidays are about, right? HA I’ll need a vacation after all the merry making! How many are with me?
All the preparations for the holidays had me thinking about the different family traditions around the world. I’ve lived in Mexico for almost twenty years now and I’ve had the privilege to learn about a completely unique way of celebrating Christmas Mexican style.
When we first arrived here I was only fourteen and completely culture shocked for the first year. Christmas was the first holiday we experienced abroad and I had no idea that here in Mexico Christmas actually starts on December 16th and lasts all the way through February 2nd Known as Candelaria or Candle mass day.
To kick off the season there are nine Posadas (which translates to Inn) that children perform to recreate the journey of Joseph and The Virgin Mary looking for shelter. The children will gather in a procession and call on their neighbors, singing a song for each home based on Mary and Joseph’s hardships. It is customary for the children to be turned away with the news of there being no room for them at the Posada they are calling on. Yet they do not turn away and continue singing until they receive the good news that there is room for them. This is performed over the course of eight nights at different homes and ends on Christmas Eve where the nativity scene is recreated with the baby Jesus placed in the manger and at midnight everyone makes their way to Church service where fireworks are kicked off and everyone starts the celebration of Christmas.
On my first Christmas in Mexico I was invited to join in on the Posada processions with others in my community and it was an experience I’ll never forget. We carried candles and I sang in a language I had yet to master. I was off key the whole time and making it all up as I went, but everyone helped me learn as we went.
We also played games and I got my first turn at a Piñata. I learned real fast how to dive and grab my loot before everyone else got it for me. I am sure many of you have had a chance to play this game and if not, it’s a blast! Your little ones would love to take a turn at this game.
Some traditional food served is the Rosca de Reyes, an oval sweetbread, decorated with candied fruit. In a way it reminds me of our fruit cake. This sweet bread is more a tradition for February 2nd, Candelaria or Candle mass day, where family and friends gather and cut the bread where little white dolls representing the baby Jesus are hidden. The person who finds the doll in their piece of Rosca has to invite everyone present to the following year’s gathering and buy a new dress for the baby Jesus used in the Nativity Scene, and bring tamales, another traditional food made of mashed corn wrapped around meat. And delicious served with Pico de Gallo or homemade hot sauce with tomatoes, jalapeños, cilantro and lemon.
I also found that Christmas trees are not as popular with the older generations. I think this was the biggest culture shock for me. With all the custom trade off with all the tourists, trees have become more and more popular in the new generations, but when I first arrived here and visited friends, they had nativity scenes surrounded by poinsettia flowers which represent the star over Bethlehem that lead the Three Wise Men to baby Jesus instead of trees.
Though I follow the family traditions my husband and I grew up with, I find the Mexican traditional Christmas a wonderful experience and so steeped with hundreds of years old traditions dating back all the way to the time of the Spaniards.
There is so much more to the culture and the celebrations, but I’d have you hear all day!
How about you? Have you visited another country during the holidays? What did you learn of their traditions? Leave a comment along with your email addy and I’ll pick a winner to receive a Kindle copy of either His by Sunrise or Tequila Sunset, winner’s choice.
Oh, don’t forget to sign up to my newsletter if you haven’t already! It goes out today at 6 p.m. CST with my monthly Gift Card winner AND this edition has a DOUBLE cover reveal. Remember the shifter romance I mentioned above? Be one of the first to see the cover and release date.
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And one final thing, I’d love for you to swing by my author blog and join in my annual Christmas Book Bash giveaway with eleven other romance authors. See you there!
Until next time, have a wonderful and safe holiday. I wish you all a warm and festive Merry Christmas from my heart to yours!