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Posts Tagged: Mexican culture

CHRISTMAS POSADA TRADITIONS IN MEXICO

YES – Christmas is most definitely here. The lights of Soho are twinkling, Brewer Street is soaked with the boozy scent of mulled wine, and we’re far enough from the chaos of Oxford Street to feel slightly smug that we’re not being trampled by gift-hungry shoppers.

However, while the entire of December seems like an excuse for Brits to binge-each mince pies, wear novelty jumpers and pop Prosecco at random opportunities, in Mexico it’s a little more structured.

This is because, over in this part of Latin America, Christmas is celebrated from December 16th to Christmas Eve.

During these nine days, children perform Posada processions. The word Posada is Spanish for Inn or Lodging, and there are nine different posadas, one for each day, and they celebrate the part of the Christmas story where Mary and Joseph are looking for somewhere to stay.

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On each night, a different house holds the Posada party. Until they reach this house, the children go on a procession throughout the neighbourhood, calling on friends and neighbours and singing to them – the song is basically Mary and Joseph asking for room at the inn. The houses are decorated with evergreens, moss and paper lanterns, while the children hold candles and a board, complete with painted clay figures of Joseph, and Mary riding on a donkey. At each house the procession is told there is no room, until finally they reach the correct house and are welcomed in! What follows is a good old knees up, with singing, food, games, fireworks and a piñata.

Christmas Eve is known as ‘Noche Buena’. At the very final Posada, shepherds and a manger are put on to the board. When the last Posada house has finally been reached, a baby Jesus is put into the manger. Families have a main Christmas meal and then go to Midnight Mass – this is known as ‘Misa de Gallo’ (Mass of the Rooster). Afterwards there are loads of fireworks to see in Christmas Day celebrations!

 

 

 

So how did YOU celebrate Cinco De Mayo?

Well, this time last week we were holding our heads and groaning slightly, ready to indulge in our of our Mexican Hangover cures. Yep, it was the morning after Cinco De Mayo – a time when all of El Camion and The Pink Chihuahua get their party sombreros on.

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There was a great atmosphere in the bar for Cinco De Mayo, with people dropping in for margaritas, nachos, and general good cheer. So how did other places celebrate the victory over France at the Battle of Puebla? We take a little look…

FOOD:

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San Francisco loves a good bit of food – and so whether to celebrate the rich cultural history of Mexico, or simply another good reason to get tiddled on Margaritas on a week night, then the Bay Area threw a good party. These homemade tacos and corn chips represent some of the tastiest cuisine of the area, and there were several authentic menus, street fairs, and chances to immerse oneself in the Mexican culture.

FIREWORKS:

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It wouldn’t be a good party without a firework or two (Mexico has a whole festival dedicated to gunpowder, don’t you know!). Fireworks lit up the sky from California to the Southern tip of Mexico, marking the victory of the battle over a hundred years ago.

FIESTAS:

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From street fairs, floats, dancing and stalls celebrating traditional Mexican customs and costumes, the streets of Mexico City were a riot of colour and excitement!

And some good old patriotism..

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This image shows two caballeros in traditional riding outfits proudly lead the Cinco de Mayo parade displaying the flag of Mexico.

 

But remember – Cinco De Mayo is NOT Mexican Independence Day! This occurs on Wednesday, September 16th. Just enough time for us to start planning another big bash…

 

The legend of Quetzalcoatl

There are many myths and legends present in Mexican culture, and probably one of the most famous is Quetzalcoatl. Now, if you can’t say it properly, never fear – El Camion can give you a brief lesson in linguistics…

kEt-sO-kO-Ot-uL – the Ot-Ul sounds “like bottle”

Say the “quet” like the spanish “que”, pronounced “kay”. 

“zal” like “sal” in spanish, with an “ah” sound, not a short “a” 

“co” has a long o, but combined with the a after it has kind of a “cwa” sound 

“atl” again uses an “ah” sound
So, now we know how to say it – what does it mean?? The name means ‘Feathered Serpent’. It brings together the magnificent green-plumed quetzal bird, which symbolises the heavens and the wind, and the snake,a symbol of earth, rebirth, and fertility. It can also be translated as ‘precious twin’. In some myths, Quetzalcoatl has a twin brother, Xolotl, who has a human body and the head of a dog or of an ocelot.

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Quetzalcoatl was one of the most important traditional deities in Mesoamerica, and appears in some of the regions most enduring tales.

One particular legend states that Quetzalcoatl was searching for the bones he needed to create mankind, and reached Mictlan, which is the ‘the region of the dead’. This is where the evil god Mictlantecutli was waiting, and tried to stop him from collecting what he needed. Aided by sacred bees and worms, Quetzalcoatl is able to get the precious bones and then uses them to bring human kind into the world.

If visiting Mexico, then keep your eyes open – his face appears on structures in the ancient city of Teotihuacán, and around many Aztec ruins.

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