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Spanish Christmas

  • Date Submitted: 01/28/2010 12:20 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 47 
  • Words: 546
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Christmas festivities begin with Las Posadas, nine consecutive days of candelight processions and lively parties starting December 16.

Throughout Mexico kids get together each afternoon to reenact the holy family\'s journey for a place to stay in Bethlehem. The procession is headed by a small Virgen María, often perched on a live burro, led by a equally tiny San José. They are followed by other children protraying angels, the Santos Reyes, and a host of pastores y pastoras, all usually decked out in colorful handmade costumes and carrying brightly decorated báculos or faroles.


Pastorelas are staged throughout the holiday season by both amateur and professional groups. The Pastorelas tell of the shepherds\' respect of Baby Jesus. First they are visited in the fields by an angel who announces the holy birth. As the shepherds attempt to follow the great star leading them to Bethlehem they are plagued by a series of evils and misadventures provoked by the Devil. But in the end all ends well.


In most Mexican homes the principal holiday adornment is el Nacimiento. The focal point, naturally, is a stable where clay or plaster figurines of the Holy Family are sheltered. It is not unusual to also find the forces of evil represented by a serpent and a grotesque Lucifer lurking in the shadows. The figures may be simply positioned in a bed of hena, or scattered throughout an elaborate landscape.

Nowadays a decorated Christmas tree may be incorporated in the Nacimiento or set up elsewhere in the home. As purchase of a natural pine represents a luxury commodity to most Mexican families, the typical arbolito   is often an artificial one, a bare branch cut from a copal tree (Bursera microphylla) or some type of shrub collected from the countryside.


Holiday festivities culminate on Noche Buena with the celebration of a late-night Misa de Gallo. After that families head home for a...


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