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Twelfth Night: México
Christmas Evela Nochebuena
PoinsettaCuitlaxochitl star flower
Virgin MaryVirgen María
Saint JosephSan José
Three Kings/MagiSantos Reyes/Reyes Magos
Angelslos Angelitos
Shepherds & Shepherdessespastores y pastoras
Nativity Sceneel Nacimiento
Merry Christmas!¡Feliz Navidad!
Holy Innocents’ Daylos Santos Inocentes
New Year’s Dayel día de Año Nuevo
The Holy Childel Niño Dios
pine cone seedpiñon
hawthorn berryrejocote
Carver of the Saintssantera

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 family’s 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)

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