Sunday, December 21, 2014

CHRISTMAS CELEBRATIONS IN LATIN AMERICA





                  SEASON GREETINGS 
         FROM MEXICO AND BEYOND!                                 

 Welcome to this holiday posting which is my "Holiday Greeting Card" to each and every one of you who read and follow this blog.  In the spirit of the holidays, I have decided to share some of our many Christmas photographs which we have accumulated during our nomadic journey throughout Latin America. After the following brief introduction and a sample of some of our photo memories, you will find my large and colorful holiday photograph album at the end of this "greeting card."  Thank you for joining me this year and wishing you Feliz Navidad (Merry Christmas) and Feliz Ano Nuevo (Happy New Year)!  





Christmas is one of the most important and popular celebration and holiday in the countries of Latin America. There are many wonderful and uniquely Hispanic Christmas customs and traditions and they can vary from country to country. The following traditions are widely celebrated not only in Mexico, but other Hispanic countries as well:


Posadas:  Posadas are a Catholic tradition that first emerged in Spain, but is now most commonly celebrated in Mexico and Guatemala. Beginning on the 16th of December and continuing until the 24th of December, Posadas involve a re-enactment of Joseph and Mary's search for a shelter where the Virgin Mary could safely give birth to Jesus.  Occurring as either a street procession or at a party, holiday celebrants will split into two groups. One group goes house to house and knocks on the door asking for shelter or 'posada' while the other group act as the "inn keepers."

Both sides of the re-enactment hold candles and sing a traditional song asking for shelter/posada.   "En nombre del cielo, nos pido posada, pues no puede andar mi esposa amada" (In the name of heaven, I ask you for shelter for my beloved wife who can't go on) begin the Joseph and Mary group with the inn keepers denying them entry. This is repeated several times until Joseph and Mary are finally allowed entrance at which time both groups sing together. In some elaborate cases, the Posada procession can take over a street or even a whole town with elaborate costumes.



             A posada procession looking for shelter for the birth of baby Jesus 


Pastorelas:  These traditional re-enactment plays happen across Latin America but particularly in Mexico and Brazil. The plays depict the birth of Christ including the shepherds, the three kings and the search for the manger. Often performed by children, the plays are performed in full costume and are often very elaborate.




Misas:  Religion plays a very significant part in Latin America during Christmas which is hardly surprising considering that the region makes up the world's largest percentage of Catholics,  In countries such as Bolivia, Chile and Mexico, people attend the Midnight Mass, called the 'Misa del Gallo.'  In Venezuela, worshipers attend mass every day in the mornings beginning December 16th which is called "Misa de Aguinaldo."


























Nacimientos:  Nacimientos, or Nativity Scenes, are one of the most unifying traditions across Latin America.  In countries from Mexico to Peru, Chile, Paraguay, and Guatemala people set up elaborate Nativity Scenes inside their homes, in their churches, and in public places. Figures range from life-size to miniatures.









Piñata:  One of the most fun and recognized Mexican traditions is the piñata. Made out of paper mache or clay, these brightly colored and decorated objects are filled with candy and suspended from a rope. Children are blindfolded and take turns trying to break the piñata open with a stick thus getting the candy inside. A traditional song is sung as the children attempt to hit and break the piñata.





Displaying

Here are a few of my favorite holiday photographs as a prelude to my CHRISTMAS IN LATIN AMERICA album which you will find at the end of this posting.  Enjoy and happy holidays!



             A wonderful poinsettia Christmas tree at the beach - I love it!  


                            I also love the new Arbol de Navidad on San Miguel's plaza



    Oaxaca City's Christmas tree is constructed from living poinsettias which are native to Mexico



   A lovely tribute to the Virgin of Guadalupe (Mother Mary) who is celebrated on December 12th in Latin America 



     The Epiphany parade (Three Kings celebration) in Cuenca, Ecuador is wonderful 



  Congratulations to ten year old Daniel of San Miguel for his wonderful Christmas painting



        Oaxaca's Radish (and corn husk) Festival held during the Navidad holidays is truly unique!  



                                          A Christmas Angel!  



             There's more than one way to get to a rooftop!  Good job Santa Claus!



                   Santa stuffing stockings on the beach works for me!  





Christmas beauty in the Jardin of San Miguel de Allende, Mexicxo



  
 Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from MEXICO AND BEYOND!



I remember hearing many, many years ago that a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, I am a believer so following is the link to my WEB ALBUM which has additional photos for this posting. And if that is not enough, I have also included below the SLIDE SHOW of the web album for your immediate enjoyment.



Please do not hesitate to contact me with any comments, suggestions, or questions. I may be contacted directly by email or by posting a comment on this blog page. Muchas gracias  Laura 


BLOG: CHRISTMAS IN LATIN AMERICA


  Hoping that Senor Ho Ho brings me a red sleigh for Christmas!
   What about you?  




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