Saturday, 21 November 2015

Christmas Traditions in Mexico - Posadas and Nativity Scene

Las Posadas and Nativity Scene - Mexican Christmas Traditions

Mexican Nativity Scene - Nativity Scene Exhibition - Virreinato Museum in San Luis Potosi - Photo: Casa Las Margaritas
"Posadas", Nativity Scene and "Acostada del Niño Dios" are three of the Mexican Christmas traditions. There are also "Pastorelas", "Levantada del Niño Dios", "Día de Reyes" (Wise Men celebration) and "Día de La Candelaria" (Candle Mass Day).

Nativity Scene Exhibition Virreinato Museum in San Luis Potosi - Courtesy Casa Las Margaritas
Nativity Scene: Belén also called Nacimiento is set up usually on Dec 16th. It has representations of traditional Mexican scenes combined with scenes of how the artisans imagine was Bethlehem in the time when Jesus was born. The center of the Nacimiento are the figures of Joseph and Mary with Baby Jesus. Important part of a Nativity Scene are the Bethlehem Star, the 3 wise men (Los 3 Reyes Magos), the angel, a cow, a ox, shephers and the devil (diablo).

Posadas : is a 9 days celebration (Novenario de Las Posadas) that symbolizes the journey of Joseph and Mary to Belen and the problems they had to endure to find a place to stay (posada).

Mexican Nativity Scene - Nativity Scene Exhibition Virreinato Museum in San Luis Potosi - Photo:  Casa Las Margaritas 
 Posadas traditionally begin on Dec 16th when the Nativity Scene is set up in most of the houses in Mexico, and the last posada is on Dec. 24th. In a traditional Posada the Rosary is prayed and images of Joseph and Mary are taken on a pilgrimage by the "peregrinos" (pilgrims) carrying candles and "bengala" lights and singing the traditional songs looking for a place to stay where Jesus will be born.During the pilgrimage Joseph and Mary are rejected until they are finally allowed in a place where Jesus will be born. Traditional songs are song by the participants, a piñata with seven cones (that represent the seven capital sins) full of candies, oranges, mandarins and sugar cane pieces  is broken and bags with colaciones (special type of candy for posadas), cookies, oranges, mandarins, sugar cane pieces and peanuts (bolos) are given to all the attendants.
Posadas can be organized by families, friends, neighbors, churches, companies, etc. The following is the program of the Posadas organized by the Church in Barra de Navidad where everybody is welcome to participate.



Traditional Mexican Posadas in Barra de Navidad barrio "San Felipe de Jesus", Jalisco, Mexico

Poinsettia, Christmas flower, Cuitlaxochitl or Nochebuena is a  flower or Mexican Central American origin

Devil figure in Nativity Scene - Nativity Scene Exhibition Virreinato Museum in San Luis Potosi - Photo: Casa Las Margaritas 
Acostada del Niño Dios - On Dec. 24th it is also very common the celebration of "Acostada del Niño Dios" (bedding of Baby Jesus) where the image of Baby Jesus is put in the Nativity Scene on a special ceremony with prays and songs. The image of Baby Jesus is cleaned with perfume by the "godparents" (usually children are invited as Baby Jesus godparents), and putting to "sleep" with prays and songs.  The image of Baby Jesus is putting on a tray with candies and chocolates, the tray is passed to everyone to kiss Baby Jesus and take a candy from the tray. Then Baby Jesus is  put on the Nativity Scene usually until Candlemas day on February 2nd. when the "Levantada del Niño Dios" is celebrated.

Visiting Barra de Navidad? Stay at Casa Las Margaritas
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