Thursday, December 22, 2016

MEXICO AND BEYOND: CHRISTMAS AND HOLIDAY GREETINGS 2016




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 and update some of our favorite Christmas photographs which we have accumulated during our nomadic journey throughout Mexico and 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) in 2017.


A lovely tribute to the Virgin of Guadalupe (Mother Mary) who is celebrated on December 12th in Latin America as seen in San Miguel de Allende.

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.







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.








PINATAS:  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 in order to get to the candy inside. Parents and friends sing a traditional song as the children attempt to break open the piñata.







Displaying


The following are a few of my favorite holiday photographs as a prelude to my MEXICO AND BEYOND: CHRISTMAS 2016 album which you will find at the end of this posting.  


A wonderful poinsettia Christmas tree at the beach 


The Epiphany parade (Three Kings celebration) in Cuenca, Ecuador is lovely with the children dressed in traditional wear and riding horseback.


 Oaxaca's Radish and Corn Husk Festival held during the Navidad holidays is certainly unique.  



A young Christmas angel "in training" as seen in Cuenca, Ecuador 



Oaxaca City's Christmas tree is constructed from living poinsettia plants which are native to Mexico.



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

   Stuffed Christmas stockings on the beach work for me. 



A completely made-by-hand model we saw in the creator's garage in San Miguel de Allende. Wow!

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:

MEXICO AND BEYOND: CHRISTMAS 2016


Don't be shy! Us bloggers love receiving questions, comments, and suggestions. I may be contacted directly by email or by posting a comment on this blog page. Until next time, safe trails, travel well, and happy holidays! Laura




This holiday painting was created by Daniel, a ten year old student in San Miguel de Allende, and I think it especially wonderful.   



 Wishing all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from Mexico and Beyond!  Laura








10 comments:

  1. Merry Christmas Laura to you and your family !

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    1. Feliz Navidad to you both and looking forward to your return!

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  2. Merry Christmas from up North in SoCal. As always a wonderful history lesson captured with great narration and beautiful photos.

    Love Freddy

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    1. Your kind words, Freddy, make my heart sing! Enjoy your Christmas and looking forward to your visit with the family. Love, Laura

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  3. Querida Hermana, I guess we picked out the Stocking Stuffer by coincidence this year to end up in the middle of the Pacific. Thanks for sharing the beautiful photos of activities and festivities in Mexico during the Holy Season!

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    1. Gracias Hermano y Catarina! Wishing you Feliz Navidad also from the other side of the Pacific. Love, Hermana del Sur

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  4. Splendid, as always. Informative, heart-felt, and beautiful--like you. Feliz Navidad

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    1. Oh, your comment just made my Christmas, amiga! Have a wonderful Navidad with your family.

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  5. Many, many thanks, Lobo of Travels with Lobo and wishing you and yours also a happy holiday season. I sincerely appreciated hearing from you!

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  6. Love seeing all of the beautiful photos! Gracias!

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