The holidays are a wonderful time of the year, and for most of us, they fly by way too quickly.
This time of year I’m especially appreciative of Florida. Largely for the same reasons many of my books take place in Florida. The average temperature in Tampa Bay Florida in December is 71 degrees Fahrenheit (22 degrees Celsius)! You can check out my blog post about Snowbirds here.
One of my favorite things about the Christmas season (besides the food, of course…) is discovering the little nuggets of its unique history. That’s what a writer loves to do — we soak up everything. And in the process we’re able to see how the big picture developed and then show it to you through our stories.
Although FBI Special Agents Kim Otto and Carlos Gaspar often find themselves traveling on their Hunt for Jack Reacher, they rarely have an opportunity to soak in the culture and traditions of each location they visit. If they passed through Mexico in December with time to spare (yeah, right!), what holiday festivities could they find?
Christmas is celebrated from December 12th – February 2nd in Mexico.
From December 16th to Christmas Eve, Posada parties are held each night at different homes. These parties are centered around different parts of the Christmas story that children often act out. Music, games and delicious food are all part of this tradition. Piñatas are present throughout the Christmas season.
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Traditional Christmas decorations in Mexico are the nativity scene as well as Poinsettia flowers. Over the last decade Christmas trees for decorating are growing in popularity. Another fun fact about Christmas decorations in Mexico is that the world’s largest Angel Ornament was created in Mexico using nearly three thousand beer bottles. Wow!
Christmas Eve is a family day in Mexico. Most families will join in the final Posada and then enjoy the main Christmas meal. This feast often includes Christmas favorites such as bacalao a hearty potatoes dish made with salt cod and mole a classic Mexican chile sauce. Ponche, a warm spiced fruit drink is the beverage of choice during these festivities. Christmas day is usually a quiet time where everyone has a chance to rest from the night before.
Image courtesy of HowStuffWorks.com
Traditionally, gifts are not given on Christmas Eve or Christmas day in Mexico although this has begun to change. Gifts are saved until Three Kings Day on January 6th. Although not part of Mexico’s tradition, the legend of Santa Claus is also growing in Mexican culture.
The Christmas season is wrapped up on February 2nd also known as Dia de la Candelaria where families gather together for a large meal.