Christmas in Mexico
This is a good time of year to practice your Spanish with native speakers. There are many community celebrations (open to anyone) held almost daily from December 3 to January 6, depending on where you live. You will be able to sing in Spanish, eat tamales, and practice conversation with new friends.
December 3 to 12 is for Our Lady of Guadalupe. There is usually some sort of event each day, building up to the grand finale on December 11 and December 12. Activities typically include lots (lots) of singing and lots of food (including tamales). [My apologies for posting this too late to attend this year. I just thought of it today. But remember it for next year.]
December 16 to 24 is for the Posadas, a reenactment of Mary & Joseph searching for an Inn. The Posadas also include lots of singing and food, with the last day being the most festive.
January 6 is the Day of the Three Kings. I have not attended that one yet but I saw it advertised on Spanish television and it sounds like a big event as well.
Some refer to the 3 events together as a trinity or a marathon. If you have any of these happening in your area I highly recommend attending.
Read more here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas_in_Mexico " Christmas in Mexico is celebrated during a season that begins in early December to January 6th, with one other related event on February 2. During this entire time, one can see nativity scenes, poinsettias and even Christmas trees. The season begins with celebrations related to the Virgin of Guadalupe, the patroness of Mexico, followed by traditions such as Las Posadas, pastorelas, a mass and feast on Christmas Eve, the arrival of the Three Wise Men on January 6 ending with Candlemas and the presentation of Child Jesus images at churches. These traditions are a mixture of remnants from the pre Hispanic period, Spanish traditions, traditions created during Mexico’s colonial period and later adaptations from German and U.S. Christmas traditions. "
I'm travelling to Mexico in a few days to spend Christmas there. Partly the reason I started Duolingo was because my closest friend lives there. Only halfway through my Spanish tree but I hope i'll be able to converse well. Feliz Navidad todos!
In an adult posada, let say Mary and Joseph are the last thing in our minds (alcohol gallore!). You are lucky if someone sings the traditional songs in one of those. (Pity, because I love singing them)
Wisemen Day parades are for children only, and lately their quality has deteriorated, at least in Mexico (in Spain they are gorgeous). But if you have time, it is still nice to see I guess. Anyway, true festivity starts at night when friends and family gather together to eat the Rosca de Reyes, and see who gets Baby Jesus.
BTW Candlemas, which if I remember correctly is Feb. 2nd, its no longer so wdely celebrated. I think because no one wants to actually bring the tamales that they "won" (read, lost by finding Baby Jesus in the Wisemen bread / donut).
But now and then we get reminded we owe tamales so..... Keep pushing your Mexican friend for the tamales!
I have only attended posadas at church, where it's more family-friendly. One time they had 2 children dressed as Mary and Joseph, riding a pony. We always sing the songs. I print the lyrics off of the internet so I can sing along in Spanish. (I don't quite understand the one about the "fish in the sea".)
By the way, I enjoyed your post on 'Suggestions when typing Spanish from a native Spanish speaker'.
Just returned from Mexico. We were there on December 12 and not only were there lots of festivities on that date but (at least where we were) they started the end of November. No singing or tamales but parades, church services, traditional clothing (primarily women but some boys and one or two men) all sorts of dancing (ranging from little kids to traditional dances to salsa). We were told that there were also rodeos and horse races but didn't observe any. Definitely would love to go back again during that time of year.
Wow. That would be fun to go down and make a month of it. Reminds me of how Mardi Gras in the Louisiana countryside is different from the way it is celebrated in New Orleans. At the church where I attend, on December 11 & 12 a lot of the children dress up in the traditional clothing. It's very cute. We had tamales on Dec 11 (during a break while waiting to sing mañanitas as a group at midnight), and fajitas on Dec 12 while watching a mariachi band sing mañanitas.