From our friend, Flor Hernandez from Frascati Ristorante in La Cruz de Huanacaxtle just north of Puerto Vallarta.
Christmas or Nativity celebrates the birth of Jesus. In Mexico, Christmas is a religious holiday where the following elements are present.
The Posadas are an enactment of the ordeals suffered by St. Joseph and pregnant Virgin Mary looking for a place to spend the night, as they were attending to the census in Bethlehem.
Each family in a neighborhood will schedule a night for the Posada to be held at their home, starting on the 16th of December and finishing on the 24th on Nochebuena (Christmas Eve).
It seems that the Posadas were introduced in New Spain (Mexico) by the Augustinian monks of San Agustin de Acolman, as a way to convert the Indians to the Catholic Religion, back then they used the Pastorelas, that are a type of a theatrical Play with a great touch of humor, where God defeats the Devil, Pastorelas are very popular in Cities like Mexico DF, Queretaro, Guanajuato, and others.
Posadas are a family get-together around food, music, peaceful thoughts and harmony that is very important in this time of the year.
El Ponche con Piquete
For the adults there is Ponche with Piquete (sting) which is a hot beverage or “Punch” made out of seasonal fruits and cinnamon sticks, with a shot of alcoholic spirit.
Piñatas origin seems to be at the XVI century, like Posadas and Pastorelas, Piñatas were a useful tool to convert Indians to the Catholic Religion, the Piñata represents sin that appears to us, in nice shapes and colors, the person that hits it is blindfolded, as we walk through the world “blindfolded” not knowing where evil will arise and tempt us. The Piñata is filled with candy, fruit and toys for the children, that symbolize the blessings and prices given to us by God once we overcome the temptations of evil.
Aguinaldos are bags of candy and fruit that are given to the participants of the Posada, it is also by that name, that employers give a Christmas Bonus equivalent to one month of salary to their employees.
Chants for Baby Jesus
Before Christmas dinner, the children in the house, in front of the Nativity set, sing chants for baby Jesus. Then, the members of the family make a wish, followed by hugging each other and expressing all the good wishes kept in the heart for a whole year.