|Twelfth Night: México|
On Jan 6th children wake up to find toys & gifts left by the Magi. Rosca de Reyes is a crown-shaped bread decorated with candied fruit. Each person cuts their own slice. The ones who find tiny baby dolls in their slices are the godparents & host Candlemas: El Día de Candelaría, when the holiday season ends.
At the time of the birth of the Christ Child, Jewish tradition & law forbade women access to the Temple for 40 days after the birth of a child. Mary & Joseph would have presented the Baby Jesus, the Child God in the Temple then on February 2. – Judy King
|The Christmas season is sunny in México and begins on December 3rd with the 9 Fiestas of the Sun celebrating the virgin birth of the sun god Huitzilopchtli [pron. wee-tsee-loh-ponch 'tee] culminating December 24th. December 12th is La Patrona, the Feast of the Aztec Mother Goddess Tontanslin [pron. toh-nahn-teen], The Virgin of Guadalupe, La Morenita Bella: Dark Beauty, Queen of the Americas, who is haloed in sun rays. Her temple is at Tepeyac. She produced Castillian roses & her cloth image for Bishop Juan Diego on December 12, 1531. |
Las Posadas: The Inns, are 9 consecutive days of candelight processions beginning on December 16. Children reenact the holy familys quest for lodging in Belen: Light: Bethlehem. A tiny Virgin Mary riding a burro, Saint Joseph, child angels, 3 Kings, shepherds & shepherdesses carrying paper faroles: lanterns are refused at two houses & are invited in at the third. A piñata: clay pot covered with colorful paper-mâché &/or feathers suspended from a rope is filled with fruits, sugar cane, cacahuete: peanuts & candies. Children are blindfolded & attempt to hit the piñata with a stick. Once it is smashed the children eat the food.
A Nativity scene is displayed in the front of homes with figurines of the Holy Family, Angel, Magi, ox, ass, shepherds, cellophane waterfall, cacti, palm trees, houses, livestock, fire-breathing serpent, colored sawdust, mosses, lights, papel roca: rock-colored paper, Lucifer. Copal incense is burned & a branch from the copal tree is put into the scene.
The Nahuatl Cuetlaxochitl: Star Flower of Purity [kweht-lah-soh'-cheetl] is called poinsetta, Catarina, Flor de Noche Buena: Flower of the Good Night. Cuitlaxochitl leaves can be creamy white, salmon pink, scarlet, variegated or double blooms & surround a yellow blossom. Leaves are used to stimulate heart circulation & as a poultice for skin infections. The red leaves are also a dye.
Foods: After Misa del Gallo: Midnight Rooster Mass, tamales: a main dish wrapped in maíz-corn pancakes sealed with corn husks & atole: maíz gruel are eaten. Drinks are Ponche: hot fruit punch, hot chocolate made from amaxocaltl: cocoa beans & sidra: sparkling cider. Bacalao a la vizcaína: Biscayan cod & revoltijo de romeritos: wild greens in mole sauce are specialties. Gifts are opened & children who have asked for gifts from the Holy Child are given piñatas & luces de Belen: sparklers. December 25th is a day of rest. On December 28th: Holy Innocents Day a Fool Saint is elected. A friend can be asked to lend cash or an object. If fooled, the victim is given candy or a gift. (16, 17, 18)