Holiday traditions of Mexico

The church in Numaran is part of the Jan. 24 celebration of El Santo Nino.

The church in Numaran is part of the Jan. 24 celebration of El Santo Nino.

Kalei Ramirez, Assistant Editor

Christmas traditions can vary immensely. In Mexico, the holidays can be quite different from what people in the United State experience, as well as quite different from state to state.

Many Mexican families celebrate Las Posadas, a religious festival lasting 13 days from Dec. 12 to Christmas Eve.

The clothing of El Santo Niño, which is the Holy Child of Numaran, is seen in this photo. The Jan. 24 holiday is marked with a parade and citywide festival.

The purpose of Las Posadas is to commemorate the journey that Joseph and Mary made from Nazareth to Bethlehem in search of a safe refuge where Mary could give birth to her baby Jesus.

Nonetheless, Las Posadas brings joy and faithfulness to the families in which families spend time together to share food, drinks, and candy for the children. Every day when Las Posadas happen during the week of Christmas, there are piñatas for the kids to enjoy. The piñatas are filled with candy, orange peanuts, sugar cane sticks and, sometimes, flour, as a prank on the children.

The people of Numarán, in the state of Michoacán, goes to the church at midnight for “Misa de Gallo,” which translates to Midnight Mass, because it’s said that the roosters crowed for the day to start. 

There is often is an abundant feast of Mexican dishes, which includes tamales, pozole, ponche, bunuelos, and lots of other traditional dishes for families to eat all together. 

During that time period, children get at least a month’s vacation from school to celebrate the festivities with their families and to enjoy the joyfulness of coming together and praying for what Jesus gave them. 

Leslie Reyes, who grew up in Washington state, often visits her family in the state of Michoacán around the month of December to celebrate Las Posadas and to celebrate “El Santo Niño de Numarán” in January. Often, she would start the day with her family then later set up the streets with food to share with the whole neighborhood.

“The day of the Posadas is that Jesus welcomes all of us together and with all friends welcomed their family together to have food and drinks,” Reyes said. 

The inside of the child of El Santo Niño.

As a young child, Reyes would visit her family members. She enjoyed going to Las Posadas, not just to see her family, but to visit her best friends who lived across the street from her when Las Posadas was taking place. When the pandemic happened, Reyes and her mother decided to stay in Washington that year.

At that time of year, there were no Posadas at all. Not even Mass. The festivities were canceled due to the numbers rising, and people fearing everyone could get sick from the coronavirus.

“We are not sure if there will be a Posada this year,” said Mimi Benitez Figueroa a former resident of Numarán. 

Ximena Diaz believes there has been a decrease of people wanting to put together Las Posadas as a result of the people being scared there will be others spreading the disease, even with vaccinated people, others are still afraid.

“Yes, there has been a decrease of people wanting to hold another Posada or another celebration of El Santo Niño. Even my parents are afraid,” says Diaz, who is currently a resident at Numarán.

Diaz was upset when she heard Las Posadas was canceled due to the pandemic shutting everything down last year. She hoped that she would be able to see her family who she has not seen in over two years during this upcoming holiday.

“I have family all across the United States, the only time I’m able to see them is during the Christmas time and the celebration of El Santo Nino after that I wait a year to see them,” Diaz said.

People celebrate Los Posadas.

Although, Las Posadas didn’t happen in the year of 2020, Diaz was happy because she was able to celebrate with the family she lives with and was able to call her family who lives far through phone number.

However, other residents believe there could be a possibility Las Posadas could happen this upcoming December if other residents put in their effort to plan and host Las Posadas.

“If we all take a part together in planning the dates and times, we could have the chance to celebrate a semi-normal Posada in the streets,” said one person who wished not to be named.

Be as it may be, it’s not just Las Posadas the residents are worried about not having the celebration due to the pandemic it is also the celebration of El Santo Niño (The Holy Child). This happens a month after Las Posadas  on Jan. 24. It includes festivals, parades, food, music in the town’s square and decorations all across the town.

People are worried that they won’t be able to celebrate El Santo Niño because of the rise in Covid cases.

Despite last year’s absence of celebration, people are hoping that it’s not just a holiday, it’s more than a holiday to celebrate the love of Jesus and El Santo Niño.