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Published on: Culture

Christmas in Mexico: Customs and Traditions

Alright, let’s spice up that intro! Did you know that Christmas in Mexico is an entirely different ballgame compared to other Spanish-speaking countries? Unlike The Day of the Dead in Spanish, known as Día de los Muertos, which is a unique Mexican celebration, Christmas is a shared holiday across various cultures. However, Mexico has a way of making its festive extravaganza, fusing deep-rooted traditions with modern touches. The result? It was a colorful, spirited, and unforgettable experience.

Learning Spanish as a Second Language? Well, experiencing Christmas in Mexico is like an immersive course into Mexican culture, the kind of learning experience that goes beyond the classroom. You’ll get to see firsthand how Baby Jesus, nativity scenes, and even Santa Claus play a role in a typical Mexican Christmas. From elaborate feasts and processions to traditional Mexican Christmas decorations, it’s a month-long fiesta that embraces the spirit of togetherness, religious devotion, and, of course, a whole lot of joy.

So, whether you’re planning a visit to Mexico City, wanting to understand how Latin America does the festive season, or you’re simply looking to infuse some of that Mexican magic into your celebrations, this article is your ultimate guide. We’re diving deep into the traditions, food, music, and unique regional celebrations that make Christmas in Mexico a phenomenal cultural spectacle. Strap in, folks, because this is a Christmas journey like no other.

Is Christmas a Mexican tradition?

Absolutely! While it has its roots in Christian beliefs, the way Mexicans celebrate Christmas is deeply influenced by indigenous customs and Spanish traditions, making it a unique blend.

What are some of Mexico’s Christmas traditions?

Christmas celebrations in Mexico date back to the Spanish colonization era, merging indigenous customs with Spanish Christmas carols and traditions. Over time, these celebrations have evolved, making Mexico a hotspot for vibrant festivities.

Las Posadas

Originating from the Spanish tradition, Las Posadas is a nine-day celebration leading up to Christmas Eve, commemorating the journey of Mary and Joseph seeking shelter. It’s a blend of prayers, carols, and, of course, delicious Mexican Christmas food.


Translating to “Good Night,” Noche Buena is celebrated on Christmas Eve. After the Misa de Gallo (midnight mass), families gather for the main Christmas meal, which often includes dishes like mole sauce and drinks like Christmas punch.

Día de Los Reyes

On January 6th, Día de Los Reyes, or Three Kings Day is observed. Remember the wise men from the Christmas story? Yep, this day celebrates their arrival. And no celebration is complete without the Rosca de Reyes, a sweet bread ring, hiding a tiny Baby Jesus figure inside.

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Vibrant Celebrations and Traditions

When it comes to Mexican Christmas celebrations, there’s a lot to take in. From elaborate nativity scenes to the festive sounds of Spanish Christmas carols, the holiday season in Mexico is truly a sensory delight.

Decorations and Setting the Scene

Mexican Christmas decorations are a feast for the eyes. The streets of Mexico City dazzle with Christmas lights and paper lanterns. One popular Christmas decoration that stands out is the poinsettia flower, native to Mexico and deeply rooted in Mexican Christmas tradition.

Festive Foods and Drinks

From Christmas salad to warm Christmas punch, the festive season in Mexico is as much about the food as it is about the customs. A traditional dinner on Christmas Eve might include a main dish covered in mole sauce, followed by a dessert drizzled with hot sugar syrup.

Fun Activities

Christmas plays, recounting the nativity story, are a common sight. For kids (and the young at heart), Christmas piñatas filled with sweets are a highlight. And let’s not forget the songs and dances that accompany these celebrations, filling the air with joy and laughter.

Now, let’s tackle some questions to further unwrap the charm of Christmas in Mexico.


Poinsettia flowers, those iconic red and green plants that pop up everywhere during Christmas, are native to Mexico! Originally known as “Cuetlaxochitl” by the Aztecs, they were considered symbols of purity. These beauties made their way into Christmas lore in Mexico and are now a global symbol of the holiday season. So when you see a poinsettia this year, remember you’re enjoying a little piece of Mexican heritage!

Image by Jeffrey Hamilton via Unsplash

Journey Through the Christmas Season Calendar

In Mexico, the Christmas season is not just a day or two; it’s an entire festive period that stretches over a month! To truly understand the depth of Mexican Christmas traditions, you need to see the whole calendar.

December 16th – Las Posadas Begins

Starting on the 16th of December, Las Posadas takes center stage. For nine nights, processions reenact Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem, complete with Spanish Christmas carols and Christmas lights illuminating the path.

December 24th – Christmas Eve (Noche Buena)

As the sun sets on December 24th, the anticipation for Christmas Eve reaches its peak. After attending midnight mass, or Misa de Gallo, Mexican families gather around the table for the main Christmas meal, with dishes often featuring mole sauce and desserts covered in hot sugar syrup.

December 25th – Christmas Day

Although Christmas Eve is a significant celebration, Christmas Day is quieter in comparison. It is often spent in relaxation and quality time with family, reflecting on the story of Baby Jesus.

January 6th – Día de los Reyes

If you thought Christmas festivities ended on the 25th of December, think again! January 6th marks Día de los Reyes or Three Kings Day, another high point in Mexican Christmas celebrations. The day features more food, gifts, and even a special bread known as Rosca de Reyes.

Image by Eric Prouzet via Unsplash

How to Celebrate Christmas the Mexican Way

Okay, folks, you’ve read about how amazing Christmas in Mexico can be, so how about we take a deep dive into how you can celebrate Christmas with some good old Mexican flair? This section is a go-to guide for anyone who wants to feel the vibrancy of Mexican Christmas, whether you’re in Mexico City or just want to bring some of that warmth to your home.

Deck the Halls with Mexican Christmas Decorations

When it comes to Christmas decorations, Mexico doesn’t hold back. First things first, bring home a poinsettia. This red and green plant is a popular Christmas decoration and holds significant importance in Mexican Christmas traditions. If you’re crafty, you might even want to try your hand at creating paper lanterns or farolitos. These lanterns can be as simple or as intricate as you like. Place them along your walkway or hang them in your living room to give your home that Mexican Christmas feel.

Music Sets the Mood

One can’t talk about Mexican culture without discussing the rich music tradition. To get into the holiday spirit, look for playlists or CDs featuring traditional Spanish Christmas carols. Music plays a vital role in setting the ambiance and can make you feel like you’re celebrating Christmas in Mexico, right from the comfort of your living room. From “Campana sobre campana” to “El niño del tambor,” these melodies will have you dancing around your Christmas tree in no time.

Feast Your Way Through

What’s a celebration without food? If you’re committed to the Mexican way, you might want to whip up some classic Mexican Christmas food. Think Christmas salad, known as ‘Ensalada de Noche Buena,’ which usually includes beets, apples, carrots, and nuts. For drinks, you could make some Christmas punch, a warm beverage made with fruits and spices. And who can forget desserts? Try your hand at making Mexican Christmas cookies or indulge in some ‘buñuelos,’ a type of fritter drizzled with hot sugar syrup.

Get Traditional with Attire

While you’re savoring that Christmas punch and singing along to those carols, why not get the complete Mexican experience by donning some traditional Mexican attire? You’ll not only look fabulous but also feel deeply connected to the Mexican tradition.

If you’ve got children, they will love this! Mexican children often play a big part in family celebrations, and they’d be thrilled to be a part of your Mexican Christmas celebration.

So there you have it. From decorations to food, music, and even attire—here’s your comprehensive guide to making your holiday season an authentic Mexican Christmas experience. Trust me, you won’t regret diving deep into these vibrant traditions.


Mexico City once held the title for the world’s largest Christmas tree! This towering spectacle was more than just a feat of engineering; it was a symbol of Mexico City’s grand embrace of the holiday season. So when it comes to Christmas celebrations, Mexico goes big—literally!

Wrapping Up Our Journey Through Mexican Christmas

By now, you’re practically a walking encyclopedia on Mexican Christmas traditions. Whether it’s the historical blend of customs, the colorful decorations, the mouth-watering foods, or the spirited activities, one thing’s for sure—Christmas in Mexico is a vibrant celebration that has something for everyone.

And if you’re looking to take this a step further, how about learning to wish locals a “Merry Christmas” in their language? Our Dedicated Teachers at SpanishVIP are more than happy to assist you, and our Student Success Advisors will ensure your experience is nothing short of extraordinary. So why not start with a free 1:1 class or enjoy free 7 days of group classes? Feliz Navidad and happy exploring!

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