Christmas in Mexico

The Story behind Las Posadas and Christmas in Mexico.

Christmas in Mexico is an important celebration that begins with Las Posadas in mid-December and concludes with Candlemas in early February.

Throughout the season, celebrants focus on some of the most important aspects of traditional Mexican life: family and food … especially Christmas tamales!

One of the most unique aspects of Christmas in Mexico is Las Posadas. Commencing on December 16th and continuing for the next nine nights, Las Posadas honors the long journey of Mary and Joseph and their search for lodging in Bethlehem. In fact, “posada” translates to “shelter” in English.

On each evening of Las Posadas, a woman and man portraying Mary and Joseph lead a procession, followed by children in the roles of angels, The Three Kings, and shepherds. Others in the procession carry candles, paper lanterns, and banners as they proceed from house to house in search of a place to stay.

At each residence along the procession route they are refused shelter, until finally, they are welcomed in at the last home. Then, a grand party with Mexican Christmas food for all is held. The procession ends in a different host family’s home each evening leading up to Christmas Day.

Christmas Tamales and Other Mexican Christmas Foods.

The focal points for Las Posadas and Christmas in Mexico are family and food. And nothing says Mexican Christmas food like Christmas tamales!

Although the exact origin is not known, tamales were a common dish of the Aztecs in Mexico prior to the arrival of the Spaniards. Some believe that Christmas tamales wrapped in their corn husks represent the baby Jesus wrapped lovingly in Mary’s arms.

christmas tamales with chicken

A basic recipe for Christmas tamales calls for seasoned meat placed inside a layer of cornmeal dough (masa) that is then wrapped in corn husks and either baked or steamed. Many cooks in Mexico also serve sweet Christmas tamales, usually filled with fruit.

The preparation of Christmas tamales is a fun family affair in Mexican households. It’s also labor-intensive. If you’re short on time, consider serving up convenient and authentic beef tamales from El Monterey.

Other popular Mexican Christmas foods include soups like menudo and pozole, sweet capirotada bread pudding served with fruits and nuts, and buñuelo deep-fried dough balls drenched in a sweet syrup.

What are Your Favorite Mexican Christmas Foods?

We’d love to hear what Mexican Christmas foods you’re serving this holiday season. Let us know on Facebook!