December 23, 2010

Christmas in Mexico: More Festive Celebrations

Gritty the Snowman

There's no snow in Cancún, but there is white sand! Gritty the Snowman was the creation of the Howden family, during their Christmas in the Mexican resort.

Las Pastorelas

Mexican children participating in Las Pastorelas (Shepherds Plays). This tradition dates back to the coming of the Spanish to Mexico and it is still going strong today. Las Pastorelas are often improvised, ad hoc affairs, with players telling the stories in their own ways.

These plays tell a host of Biblical stories, from Adam and Eve, through to the more common Nativity tales. Most popular of all is La Pastorela (The Shepherd), which portrays the arrival of the Archangel Michael to a group of shepherds. The archangel tells the shepherds to go to Bethlehem to pay homage to the baby Christ. The shepherds' journey there is beset with problems, notably caused by the devils, Luzbel and Asmodeo. They do have assistance though, in the form of el Ermitaño (the Hermit), who shares his wisdom, as well as various angels.

This is a Mexican tradition which is also prevalent in the USA. More about that can be read here: Pastorelas and Pastores - las pastorelas, los pastores, autos sacramentales, El fin del mundo, Moros y Cristianos, Las Pastorelas.

Christmas Tree in Mexico City

Fireworks dazzle the skies, as the Christmas Tree is illuminated in the center of Mexico City. Just about every village, town and city in Mexico will be well decorated during the festive season. The most spectacular will be in the cities, where a huge budget is spent on creating extravagant illuminations along the streets and in the plazas.

Santa Claus in Guadalajara

Santa Claus stopping off, during his busy schedule, to meet with children (of all ages) in Guadalajara. Santa often makes a point of visiting shopping malls and hotel resorts too. Just because you're away from home, it doesn't mean that Santa can't find you.

That, of course, includes the Christmas party Mecca of Cancún. Here is Santa Claus and an elf turning up there on Christmas Day:

Santa and elf in Cancun

Parade in Oaxaca

These little angels were part of a Christmas parade, through the streets of Oaxaca. They are sitting on a float, waving to the crowds gathered to cheer them on. Note the poinsettia on the lap of one of the angels. Poinsettia is everywhere in Mexico, at this time of year, as are parades!

Ice Rink in Mexico City

Ice, in Mexico? Well, usually only in the drinks. At Christmas, there's also the Zócalo Ice Rink, which is the largest in the world. Based in the main plaza, at the heart of Mexico City's historic district, the ice rink is a stunning 300,000 square feet. And here you were, assuming that the world's biggest ice rink was probably in Lapland, or Antartica, or somewhere cold.

Stockings on palm trees

Meanwhile, the stockings are up and waiting for Santa Claus. This being Mexico, the nearest palm tree on a glorious beach provides the best place to hang them!

Feliz navidad! (Happy Christmas in Mexican)

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