Christmas in Mexico is a time of immense joviality and revelry. It is a special occasion for family gatherings, visiting relatives, and organizing splendid Christmas parties. It is one of the biggest festivals in Mexico and is celebrated from December 12 to January 6. Markets, stalls and shops are elaborately decorated weeks before the arrival of Christmas. These markets offer umpteen varieties of crafts, food, fruits, and flowers like orchids and poinsettias. Poinsettias are native to Mexico and were first included in Christmas celebrations in the 17th century when Mexican Franciscans used them in their decorations. Since Santa Claus is not predominant in Mexico, these bright red-colored flowers provide the essence of true Christmas spirits. There is a legend associated with this flower.
There was once a boy named Pablo who was on his way to the village church to visit the nativity scene. While walking, he realized that he has nothing to offer in the church. As such, he gathered some green branches from the roadside. On sighting this, other children started laughing at him for carrying green branches. But to everyone's surprise, when the boy placed those green branches on the manger, a brilliant red star-shaped flower, called poinsettia, appeared on the branches. Since then, poinsettia is regarded as a holy Christmas flower in Mexico and finds itself in numerous uses on this occasion. In Mexico, the holiday fiesta begins on December 16. The main Christmas celebration, also known as Las Posadas, is a procession recreating Joseph and Mary's search for a place to stay in Bethlehem.
The procession begins nine days before Christmas since it took nine days for Joseph and Mary to reach Bethlehem from Nazareth. This procession is divided into two groups: one is pilgrims, who go from inn to inn asking for a shelter until they find a manger where the Midnight Mass will be held. Second, on the arrival of the pilgrims on the manger, a holy prayer is enchanted. Once posada is over, people attend the Midnight Mass. This is followed by a piņata party which is eagerly waited by children. Christmas in Mexico is a euphoric medley of bells, firecrackers and whistles. These celebrations continue until January 6 which is celebrated as The Three Kings Day. Over the years, Christmas celebrations in Mexico have witnessed significant changes. Mexicans are quickly adopting the American style of Christmas festivities, though posada still holds a prominent position in the Mexican culture.
Christmas in Mexico is celebrated with devotion and fun. The ways of Christmas celebrations in Mexico are different for different areas.