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Christmas in Mexico: Festivities, Tradition & More

Mexico is a country full of culture and traditions and there isn’t a more evident moment than December. The whole country celebrates from December 12th until January 6th, either with gifts, meals with friends and family or with religious beliefs; here is a short review of public holidays between December and January.

  • The Virgin of Guadalupe day.
    Every year on December 12th, the Virgin of Guadalupe is celebrated. This is not an official holiday, but a religious one; it is based on the belief that on December 12th, 1531 the virgin of guadalupe appeared to a man called Juan Diego in the hill of Tepeyac.
  • Day of the holy innocents.
    This is the day in the history of the Bible in which people recall when King Herod ordered the execution of all newborn boys in Bethlehem with the intention to kill infant Jesus, is like April Fool’s in the United States, but in Mexico is celebrated on December 28th and it is usual for Mexicans to do pranks between family and friends. However, this is not an official holiday.
  • Posadas
    Originally from Spain, but now held mostly in Mexico. From December 16th until the 24th at these parties, Mexicans do the representation of what was the pilgrimage of Mary and Joseph looking for a place for the birth of the baby Jesus. The posadas are the name Mexicans give to this part of the holidays.
  • Christmas Eve
    In Mexico, Christmas Eve is spent with friends and family, usually dinner is served a little late, around 11 PM or 12 AM and it’s made of turkey, romeritos, cod, Christmas apple salad, punch and cider. As in many other countries different families also attend to a midnight mass. Christmas Day celebration continues with the giving of the presents and the famous recalentado. Christmas is an official holiday in Mexico.
  • New Year’s Eve.
    For most Mexicans on this date the dinner is also served late, around 11 PM or midnight, the arrival of the New Year is also celebrated with fireworks and rockets, and there are other traditions to ensure that the next year will be a good one. One of them is to eat 12 grapes (one for each month of the year) and to wear red underwear, for love or yellow underwear, for money.
  • The Three Wise Men.
    This is the 12th day after Christmas, in which Mexicans celebrate the arrival of the wise men to the place of infant Jesus; a lot of Mexican children receive gifts on this day too, brought by Melchor, Gaspar and Balthazar.
  • Rosca de Reyes.
    Rosca de Reyes is a dessert made with bread, which is generally celebrated on January 6th. It is decorated with dried and caramelized fruit, also a small plastic doll is hidden inside the bread, representing the infant Jesus; the person who finds the doll in their slice will be responsible for buying tamales for the Candelaria’s Day, on February 2nd.


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