Christmas celebrations in Mexico begin in early December to January 6, with one other related event on February 2, Dia de la Candelaria (Candlemas). Here are some of the more significant dates & celebrations, each with a religious component and each with food!
December 12 marks the Feast of the Virgen de Guadalupe(Our Lady of Guadalupe)
December 16 marks beginning of the nine nights of Las Posadas (prayer, re-enactments of Mary & Joseph looking for an ‘inn’)
Pastorelas (theatrical Shepherd’s Plays)
Noche Buena (the ‘good night’ Dec 24)
January 6 Dia de los Santos Reyes(Epiphany)
February 2, Dia de la Candelaria (Candlemas) 40days after Christmas, presentation of Nino Jesus
Food plays a big part in all of these Mexican Christmas celebrations. In Mexico it is customary to have a family dinner late on Christmas Eve (Noche Buena). Here are some of the foods that are traditionally eaten at Christmastime in Mexico, either at Christmas Eve dinner or during the festivities leading up to Christmas such as Las Posadas.
Here are some of the most common foods:
BACALAO: This dish of European origin has become a common component of a traditional Mexican Christmas feast. Bacalao a la Viscaina is a popular recipe in which the cod is stewed with tomatoes, capers, olives, and potatoes, but it may be prepared in a variety of ways.
ROMERITOS: Though difficult to find in Minnesota during the winter season, romerito is a rosemary like herb or plant. Romeritos are most often served as romeritos en revoltijo, with shrimp cakes and doused in mole. This Mexican Christmas dish is also served during Lent.
POZOLE: Pozole is hominy soup made with pork or chicken and seasoned primarily with chiles and seasonings. It is most commonly served with garnishes of shredded lettuce or cabbage, thinly sliced radishes, oregano, lime wedges, often times accompanied with totopos, tostadas, or tacos dorados de papa(fried potato tacos). It makes a hearty meal and is made in large batches, making it a great party food, which makes it a popular party food!
BUNUELOS: A crispy fried flat, round ‘disk’ tortilla like shape, it’s a simple wheat-based dough commonly flavored with anise, after fried it’s coated with cinnamon & sugar. Often times served with a piloncillo (sugar cane sugar) cinammon & guava syrup. A sweet treat frequently accompanied with ‘atole’ (hot, thick beverage, corn masa/starch based).
PONCHE NAVIDENO: a hot fruity punch made with chunks of guava, tejocote(Mexican Hawthorne), oranges, sugar cane, piloncillo & cinnamon and sometimes served with ‘piquete’ spiked with a little tequila or brandy!
ROSCA DE REYES: three kings wreath shaped bread, topped with candied fruits, (more details on this in next blog)
Can’t go to Mexico for Christmas? No worries, mexicanize your Navidad with these delicious traditional dishes or come to El Burrito Mercado where you’ll experience flavors & shopping of ‘La Experiencia Mexicana’!
Feliz Navidad y buen provecho!