Vegan Mexican Christmas Recipes

Hola! I am Jeni from the blog Thyme & Love and I am so excited to be writing a guest post here on Dora’s Table! Before I share my recipe for these delicious and easy Vegan Tequila Truffles, I thought that I would give a little background about myself and my recipe inspiration.

These Vegan Tequila Truffles are rich, creamy, chocolaty and simple. They are easy to make and perfect for the holiday season.

I first discovered authentic Mexican food when I started dating my Husband Hector, who is from Mexico City. I immediately feel in love with the cuisine and culture of Mexico. I grew up in the Midwest and ate a pretty typical American diet. There wasn’t much variety and we never had true authentic Mexican food. I learned a few recipes and the basics of Mexican cuisine from Hector’s Mom Adela. Since I was already Vegan when I met Hector I began to research Mexican recipes that were naturally Vegan or that could easily be made Vegan.

 

These Vegan Tequila Truffles are rich, creamy, chocolaty and simple. They are easy to make and perfect for the holiday season.

I love traveling to Mexico as much as I can, especially to Mexico City. It is the first place that I visited in Mexico and it holds a special place in my heart. After Hector and I got married, we decided to move to Mexico City for awhile. It was one of the greatest experience of my life. On my blog, you’ll find that many of my recipes are inspired by Mexico.

Now, let’s talk about these Vegan Tequila Truffles. When Dora asked me to share a holiday recipe with you, I immediately knew that I wanted to share a Mexican inspired truffle recipe. Truffles are easy to make and perfect for the holiday season.

These Vegan Tequila Truffles are rich, creamy, chocolaty and simple. They are easy to make and perfect for the holiday season.

The Recipe: Vegan Tequila Truffles

The truffles start by melting dark chocolate in warmed coconut milk. You want to look for chocolate that is at least 70% cacao. After most of the chocolate has melted, the rich ganache is infused with Mexican vanilla and tequila. It is completely optional but for a little kick add chili powder to the ganache. I like to use guajillo chili powder.

After chilling the fridge for a few hours, the truffles are rolled into balls and then coated in cocoa powder.

You’ll find these Vegan Tequila Truffles to be rich, creamy, chocolaty and simple.

These Vegan Tequila Truffles are rich, creamy, chocolaty and simple. They are easy to make and perfect for the holiday season.
5 from 1 vote
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Vegan Tequila Truffles

Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 5 minutes
Author Jeni Hernandez

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Coconut milk, full fat
  • 12 oz. Vegan Dark Chocolate at least 70% Cacao, finely chopped
  • 1 pinch Sea Salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Mexican Vanilla Extract
  • 2 tbsp. Tequila
  • ¼-½ tsp. Chili Powder, optional
  • 1/4 cup Cocoa powder, for dusting

Preparation

  1. In a medium saucepan heat the the coconut milk over medium heat. When the milk comes to a low boil add the chopped chocolate and continually stir until about ¾ of the chocolate has melted. Turn off the heat and add the pinch of salt, vanilla, tequila and chili powder if using. Keep stirring until all of the chocolate has melted. 

  2. Pour the chocolate into a loaf pan or shallow dish. Refrigerate for 2 hours, or until the chocolate is almost solid. If the chocolate is still wet in some spots continue chilling until firm. 

  3. Once the chocolate is chilled and firm, prepare a dish with the cocoa powder for rolling. Use a tablespoon sized scoop to scoop out small balls; I like to use a cookie scoop. Scoop out the tablespoon size balls then gently use your hands to roll into a round ball shape. Toss in cocoa powder to coat and shake off the excess. Transfer to a cookie sheet or pan lined with wax paper. Continue until all the chocolate has been scooped out. Depending on the size of the scoop, you should get about 14-16 truffles. 

  4. Enjoy the truffles right away or store in a tightly covered container in the fridge. Let the truffles come up to room temperature before serving, about 10-15 minutes. 

Chef's Notes

It is completely optional but for a little kick add chili powder to the ganache. I like to use guajillo chili powder.

This vegan chorizo chestnut stuffing is a great option for your vegan Thanksgiving this year. The chorizo adds a vegan Mexican twist on the traditional stuffing. It is spicy, savory, and filled with sage, chestnuts, and aromatics. Many years ago my husband told me that Thanksgiving was the only meal I wasn’t allowed to mexicanize, since it was an American tradition, but one year I added chorizo to the stuffing instead of sausage and it was a big hit. We have prepared it like this ever since. This is the first year however, that I made a vegan version and it was also a huge success! (My husband is not vegan and can sometimes approach vegan food with caution.)

This vegan chorizo chestnut stuffing is a great option for your vegan Thanksgiving this year. It is spicy, savory, and delicious.

This vegan chorizo chestnut stuffing is a great option for your vegan Thanksgiving this year. It is spicy, savory, and delicious.

Thanksgiving has never really been my holiday. I guess because we don’t have it in Mexico, so I have only just started celebrating it. I do however enjoy the company. This year we will be celebrating with one of the families from our homeschool group. The group has been incredibly supportive and helpful. Without them I don’t think I would’ve lasted this long. Oh homeschooling! It is beautiful and difficult at the same time, but I know we made the right choice for our family at this time.

This vegan chorizo chestnut stuffing is a great option for your vegan Thanksgiving this year. It is spicy, savory, and delicious.

We are gearing up for Christmas here at home and the blog. Next week I will finish photographing the rest of the recipes for the year so I can enjoy some time off for Christmas with the family. My two year old is so excited for Christmas this year, that every time we see a Christmas decoration she gets all giddy and starts jumping up and down while screaming ” Christmas, it’s Christmas!”. My 7 yr. old can’t stop talking about all the pokemon Santa is going to bring him. All I want for Christmas is to enjoy my family in Mexico. It has been one year since we were there, so you can imagine how much I miss them. I hope you enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family and friends this year!

This vegan chorizo chestnut stuffing is a great option for your vegan Thanksgiving this year. It is spicy, savory, and delicious.

The Recipe: Vegan Chorizo Chestnut Stuffing

I have used sourdough bread, but any bread will do. You can buy your vegan chorizo or make it with this recipe, which is the one I used. You can also use any unsweetened plant milk, but I used homemade almond milk. The chestnuts you can roast them yourself or buy the already packaged ones. Enjoy!

This vegan chorizo chestnut stuffing is a great option for your vegan Thanksgiving this year. It is spicy, savory, and delicious.
5 from 1 vote
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Vegan Chorizo Chestnut Stuffing

Servings 6 servings
Author Dora S.

Ingredients

  • 1 (7 cups) loaf Sourdough, bread, cut into large cubes
  • 1 Carrot, large, chopped
  • 2 Celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 Onion, yellow, chopped
  • 8 oz. Vegan chorizo (see note)
  • 1/3 cup Roasted chestnuts, chopped
  • 1 tsp. Sage, fresh, chopped
  • 1 Flax egg (1 tbsp. groung flax seed + 2 1/2 tbsp. water)
  • 1 cup Almond milk, unsweetened
  • 1 cup Vegetable stock
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Spread cubed bread on a sheet pan and toast in oven, about 5 min. Set aside.

  3. Puree carrot, onion, and celery in a blender or food processor until it becomes a fine pulp.  Set aside.

  4. Set a large sauté pan to medium heat and add chorizo. Cook vegan chorizo stirring frequently until slightly brown, about 5-7 min. Remove from pan and set aside.

  5. Add vegetable puree to sauté pan, reduce heat to low, and cook until almost dry, about 7 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.

  6. In a large bowl combine chorizo, vegetable puree, bread, 1/3 cup of chestnuts, and chopped sage.

  7. In a medium bowl combine 1 tbsp. ground flax seed and 2 ½ tbsp. of water and let sit for 5 minutes. Pour in vegetable stock, salt, and almond milk and whisk well. Pour this over bread mixture and fold to combine.
  8. Place mixture in an 8 x 12 baking dish, and bake for 30 min. uncovered, or until top is golden brown.

Chef's Notes

I have used sourdough bread, but any bread will do. You can buy your vegan chorizo or make it with this recipe, which is the one I used. You can also use any unsweetened plant milk, but I used homemade almond milk. The chestnuts you can roast them yourself or buy the already packaged ones.

 

 

This vegan chorizo chestnut stuffing is a great option for your vegan Thanksgiving this year. It is spicy, savory, and delicious.

Pozole is a hearty, spicy, satisfying Mexican soup. It is said to be a hangover cure, which I cannot confirm, but it is certainly a special occasion dish and is often served on Christmas and New Year’s. There are three varieties most commonly served: rojo, verde y blanco. Traditionally pozole is made with pork shank, trotters and shoulder, but of course, this will no longer work for us, so I have created this jackfruit vegan pozole rojo recipe just for you.

This jackfruit vegan pozole is a hearty, spicy, and satisfying soup. It is an adaptation of my grandmother's recipe, perfect for the holidays

This is an adaptation of my grandmother’s famous recipe. Every Christmas for as long as I can remember my grandmother would make two of the biggest pots of pozole and menudo I have ever seen. The adults would salivate over it, talk about how good it was going to be, and would go over to the kitchen and stir the pots to see how much longer it would be until they finally had their pozole. One year I decided I was going to see what the big deal was, and I waited until the kitchen was empty. Then I went over to the pot and grabbed the ginormous ladle. I gave the whole thing a stir and almost fainted and threw up all over myself at the same time! (I must have been about 8 yrs. old.) When I stirred the pot a couple of pork trotters rose up to surface and I swear I saw a pig snout, but I might of imagined that. After that, it took me years to give pozole a try, but I eventually became one of those salivating adults waiting for the pozole to be done each Christmas.

This jackfruit vegan pozole is a hearty, spicy, and satisfying soup. It is an adaptation of my grandmother's recipe, perfect for the holidays

Now that I no longer eat meat it was only natural that I made a vegan version of this dish. Originally, I was going to make this with mushrooms instead of jackfruit, since I know jackfruit is not easily accesible to many. However, when I went to the grocery store I discovered that here in Hawaii button mushrooms are $8.00 a pound! I quickly decided instead to pay about $5 for two cans of green jackfruit. I am so happy with the result and I know you will be too. It is just as I remember it, so deeply satisfying.

This jackfruit vegan pozole is a hearty, spicy, and satisfying soup. It is an adaptation of my grandmother's recipe, perfect for the holidays

The Recipe: Jackfruit Vegan Pozole Rojo

I have used canned hominy to speed things up, but if you have access to dried hominy you can use that instead. (Dried hominy takes about 2 hours to cook.) Pozole is all about the toppings. Serve with dried oregano, diced white onion, lime wedges, sliced radishes, and shredded cabbage. My grandma used to serve a salsa macha on the side as well for the ones who wanted more heat. Here is a recipe from Mexico in my Kitchen that is very similar to my grandma’s, only she used chile piquín instead of árbol. Enjoy!

This jackfruit vegan pozole is a hearty, spicy, and satisfying soup. It is an adaptation of my grandmother's recipe, perfect for the holidays

This jackfruit vegan pozole is a hearty, spicy, and satisfying soup. It is an adaptation of my grandmother's recipe, perfect for the holidays
4.54 from 28 votes
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Jackfruit Vegan Pozole Rojo

Vegan Jackfruit Pozole Rojo, a spicy soup made with dried chiles, hominy, jackfruit, and veggies. 

Course Soup
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword jackfruit, vegan pozole
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Author Dora Stone

Ingredients

  • 1 can (29 oz.) White hominy, drained, rinsed
  • 3 quarts Vegetable Stock
  • 5 Chile guajillo, dried, stemmed and seeded
  • 2 Chile ancho, dried, stemmed and seeded
  • 5 Chile de árbol, dried, stemmed and seeded
  • 6 cloves Garlic
  • ½ Onion, white
  • 1 tbsp. Vegetable oil (optional)
  • 2 cans (20oz./ea) Young green jackfruit brine, drained
  • 1 Zucchini, medium, cut into dice

Toppings

  • 1 White onion, small, minced
  • 6 Red radishes, sliced into batons
  • 2 tbsp. Oregano, dried
  • ½ Green cabbage, cored, thinly sliced
  • 4 Limes cut into quarters
  • 1 bag Corn chips or tostadas

Preparation

  1. In a large pot, combine the vegetable stock and hominy and bring to a LOW simmer.

  2. While the hominy is simmering, remove stems and seeds from the chile ancho, arbol, and guajillo. Rinse and place in a medium pot with water.
  3. Bring pot to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 min.
  4. Drain chiles, but reserve 1 ½ cups of the chile water. Place chiles, garlic and onion in the blender, add the chile water and blend until smooth. Strain.
  5. To prepare the jackfruit, drain the jackfruit, rinse, and pat with paper towels. Cut out the core of the jackfruit (tip of the triangle pieces), and cut pieces in half. Heat 1 tbsp. of oil in a large sauté pan set to medium heat. Add the jackfruit and cook for 3 -4 minutes on each side or until it begins to brown. Pour the chile sauce over the jackfruit and reduce heat to low-medium. Simmer for 10 minutes or until jackfruit begins to break down and the sauce has thickened slightly. Use a fork to shred the jackfruit as it cooks down. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Your hominy should still be simmering very slowly. Scoop out one cup of the hominy-vegetable stock mixture and blend until smooth. Pour this back into the pot with the hominy

  7. Raise heat to medium-low, and add the zucchini and shredded jackfruit with sauce. Let simmer for 8- 10 minutes or until the zucchini is tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 

  8. Serve your pozole with all of the toppings on the side.

Recipe Video

Chef's Notes

If you don’t have access to jackfruit you can use 2lbs. of mixed mushrooms or soy curls instead. You can substitute the zucchini with chayote with excellent results. If you like your pozole really spicy serve it with this salsa macha from Mexico in my Kitchen

 

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It’s that time of year again when the cold starts creeping in and we yearn for a nice mug of hot chocolate and a tamal. If you have never tried a sweet tamal you are in for a treat.  These vegan chocolate tamales are made by beating vegan butter and sugar, adding corn masa flour, ground Mexican chocolate, cinnamon, and warm almond milk. It is filled with bittersweet chocolate chips and chopped pecans. The best tamal is a warm tamal just out of the steamer, and the scent of cinnamon and the melted bittersweet chocolate interior of this tamal will surely conquer your taste buds.

Masa for tamales in a silver bowl

 

 

We love tamales in this house both savory and sweet. Our favorites are the red chile jackfruit tamales, potato adobo tamales, and strawberry tamales. We love them so much that two years ago I self-published an ebook to help you make all kinds of vegan tamales. The book is called Vegan Tamales Unwrapped and contains over 18 different vegan tamal recipes for you to enjoy this Christmas season, with a step-by-step picture guide to making the dough, wrapping the tamales, and placing them in the steamer. The recipes include both savory and sweet tamales.

This vegan latino gift guide is inspired by our love of Latino culture, they are made or curated by Latino business owners and entrepreneurs.

Recently, while doing some research on tamales I read that there is very little evidence that tortillas were part of the Mayan diet, at least not until 900 AD. However, tamales can be found in the Aztec and Maya civilizations as far back as 7000 BC according to their hieroglyphs. It is thought that they were often carried by warriors, hunters, and travelers since they are the perfect portable food individually wrapped in corn husks. Who would have thought???

tamales chocolate

The Recipe: Vegan Chocolate Tamales

  • If you would like to make these tamales with fresh masa, replace the masa harina with 2 lbs. of fresh masa.
  • I used Ibarra chocolate for this recipe, but there are many other vegan options. 
  • You can also make these with coconut oil or vegetable shortening.
  • If you would like to make these without fat, use unsweetened pumpkin puree to replace the fat.
tamales chocolate
5 from 1 vote
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Vegan Chocolate Tamales

Vegan Chocolate tamales filled with roasted pecans and chocolate chips.

Course Dessert
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword chocolate, pecans, vegan tamales
Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 40 minutes
Servings 18 tamales
Author Dora Stone

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (8 oz.) Vegan Butter, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup Sugar, granulated
  • 4 cups (1 lb. 2oz) Masa harina
  • 1.5 tsp. Baking powder
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (9 oz.) Mexican chocolate, ground
  • ½ tsp. Cinnamon, ground
  • 2 cups Almond Milk, unsweetened, warm
  • 2 cups Water, warm
  • ½ cup Pecans, chopped
  • 2 cups Chocolate chips, bittersweet
  • 30 Corn husks dried

Preparation

To prepare the husks:

  1. Soak the corn husks in hot water, in a large pot or in your kitchen sink. Place a plate over them to weigh them down so they are completely submerged. Let them soak for at least an hour.

To make the dough:

  1. Chop the Mexican chocolate into small pieces and grind to a powder in the food processor. If you don’t have a food processor, you can grate the chocolate with a standard kitchen grater.
  2. Beat the butter and sugar, on medium-high speed, with an electric mixer, until the butter has doubled in size and is nice and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the Mexican chocolate, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, and beat for 1 minute to incorporate into the butter.
  3. Add half of the masa harina then add the almond milk. After it is completely incorporated, add the other half of masa harina and water. Beat at low speed, until thoroughly mixed. It should have the consistency of a thick cake batter. If necessary add more water until you reach that consistency.
  4. For lighter and fluffier tamales, let the dough rest for an hour in the refrigerator. Remove the dough from the fridge and rebeat it, adding enough liquid to get it to the consistency it had before.
  5. Remove the corn husks from the water and set on paper towels.

To set up the steamer:

  1. Fill the bottom with water making sure the water is not touching the steamer rack. Line the rack and sides of the steamer pot with corn husks. Set aside.

To wrap the tamales:

  1. Pull 24 pencil thin strips off of the corn husks and set aside. Take a husk and dry off the excess water on it with a paper towel. Place the husk in your hand with the tapered side away from you and the smooth side up. Using a spoon, spread 2-3 tbsp. of the dough (¼ inch thick) onto the corn husk, forming a 3 - 4 inch square. Leave a border of at least 3/4 inch on each side of the square.
  2. Place 5-10 chocolate chips, and a sprinkle of chopped pecans in the center of the dough. Bring the two long sides of the corn husk together, this will cause the masa to surround the filling, and roll them in the same direction around the tamal. (If the husk is too small, fold one of the long sides towards the center, and then fold the other long side on top.) Fold down the empty tapered section of the corn husk, forming a closed bottom. This will leave the top of the tamal open. Tie with a corn husk strip to secure the bottom of the tamal.
  3. Place the tamal in the steamer vertically leaning against the side of the steamer, with the folded part of the tamal on the bottom. Repeat this process until you run out of dough and all the tamales are in the steamer. Cover them with a layer of corn husks. If the steamer is not full, fill the empty spaces with more corn husks. Cover the pot and bring the water to a boil. Turn heat down to medium and cook for 40 minutes. Check the tamales, when they separate easily from the corn husk it means they are done. If they are not done, steam for 10 more minutes and check again.
  4. Remove steamer from the heat and let sit covered for 10 minutes. Uncover and let cool. Don’t be alarmed if the tamales seem really soft. As they cool, they will firm up.

Recipe Video

Chef's Notes

If you would like to make these with fresh masa, replace the masa harina with 2 lbs. of fresh masa. You can also use 8 oz. of coconut oil or 8 oz of cooked, unsweetened pumpkin to replace the fat.

 

This recipe for Noche Buena salad or Mexican Christmas Eve Salad is a classic in every Mexican household. Ok, maybe not in every Mexican household but it´s a pretty popular Christmas recipe. It brings a little bit of healthy into an otherwise indulgent season. Think of it as a palate cleanser, with the earthiness of the roasted beets, the sweetness of the apple, and the acidity of the orange and pomegranate your body will be thankful for some light fare.

I spent the last two weeks running around like crazy. I made over 200 tamales to sell! With the packing and the school recital and everything else, the making of the salad kind dropped down to the very bottom on my to do list. Even with all the craziness, I’m glad I get to share this recipe with you.

This vegan recipe for Noche Buena salad or Mexican Christmas Eve salad has crisp lettuce, apples, oranges, jicama, beets, and pomegranates.

The kiddos and I are enjoying our time at my mom’s house, of course we are being spoiled silly. My grandmother passed away a couple of months ago, so even with the joy of being together there is still a hint of sadness. This will be our first Christmas without Güeli. My heart goes out to all of you who might be grieving the death of a loved one this Christmas. We will try to focus instead on the beautiful smiles of children on Christmas morning, the good food, and the birth of a baby unlike any other who came into this world to bring us joy. Merry Christmas!

The Recipe: Noche Buena Salad

It is thought that this recipe or variations of it have been around since the 1830’s. It is a true Mexican classic. You can also use boiled or canned beets. If you do not want to make your own dressing, this salad will pair really well with balsamic vinaigrette.

This vegan recipe for Noche Buena salad or Mexican Christmas Eve salad has crisp lettuce, apples, oranges, jicama, beets, and pomegranates.

This vegan recipe for Noche Buena salad or Mexican Christmas Eve salad has crisp lettuce, apples, oranges, jicama, beets, and pomegranates.
5 from 1 vote
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Noche Buena Salad

Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 4 Servings
Author Dora Stone

Ingredients

  • 2 hds. Romaine chopped
  • 3 Beets, medium, roasted or steamed cut into slices
  • 1 cup Jicama cut into matchsticks
  • 3 Oranges cut into supreme
  • 1 Apple, sliced
  • ¾ cup Pomegranate, seeds
  • 1/3 cup Peanuts, roasted, chopped

Dressing

  • 1/3 cup Orange juice fresh
  • ¼ cup Vinegar white
  • 1 clove Garlic minced
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil optional

Preparation

  1. Toss the chopped romaine with the rest of the ingredients, or arrange the ingredients on top of the lettuce.
  2. To make the dressing whisk the orange juice, vinegar, and garlic together. Slowly add the oil and continue whisking. Season with salt and pepper. Pour over salad.

Chef's Notes

You can also use boiled or canned beets. If you do not want to make your own dressing, this salad will pair really well with balsamic vinaigrette.

 

 

Today is the last day of Christmas. Also known as the feast of the Epiphany, Three Kings Day or Dia de Reyes. In Mexico, as I had mentioned before, this means that children receive gifts from the Reyes Magos (Magi) instead of Santa. Traditionally the children leave a note for the Magi in their shoes, the night before, and place them under the Christmas tree or outside. The Magi respond by bringing them gifts the following morning, just as they brought gifts to the Christ child.

Living on the border, our traditions are a mixture of Mexican and American customs. This being said, as a child Santa brought most of our gifts on Christmas, and the Reyes Magos filled our stockings with treats and small toys on Jan 6th.

Also on this day, an anise and orange scented dough is baked in the form of a crown, and topped with dried and candied fruits to make the Rosca de Reyes( King Cake). The fruit is meant to represent the crown´s jewels, and inside the bread is hidden a small figurine of baby Jesus. The lucky person to find baby Jesus in their piece of bread is designated to bring tamales on  Feb. 2nd to the Feast of the Candelaria, but that´s another story.

The rosca is usually served with hot chocolate and eaten at any time of the day or all day! One of the candied fruits used to top the rosca is called acitrón. Acitrón is made from a species of cactus, also know as biznaga, only found in Mexico. The candy is made by extracting the pulp from the cacti, cutting it into blocks, and cooking it in a simple syrup. The result is an opaque sugary block, firm to the touch, but soft and juicy on the inside. It is commercially sold in red and green tinted blocks or cut into strips. Acitrón is widely used in Mexican Cuisine, thus depleting the population of the cacti used to make this candy. Why am I telling you this?? I don´t think many people know this, especially Mexicans. So if you do eat a rosca today, please eat the acitrón and enjoy what surely is a true jewel of Mexican Gastronomy.

One of the greatest things about Christmas is tradition, making new ones and reliving old ones. Traditions are a simple way of transmitting our values and our culture, making us part of history, thus becoming the glue between the past and the present. Mexican culture has many Christmas traditions, they vary from family to family and region to region, but some of them transcend all differences and have been part of the culture for centuries.

Mexican Christmas Traditions

Las Posadas:

Are part of a Roman Catholic tradition called a Novena, which in this case consists of 9 days of prayer prior to Christmas in order to obtain special graces. The passing of time and the jovial nature of the Mexican culture has transformed this tradition into 9 days of partying. Most posadas include pedir posada (reenacting the journey of Mary and Joseph trying to find a place in the Inn through song), a pastorela, the breaking of the piñata, and of course a small feast.

Mexican Christmas traditions are rich, varied, and full of symbolisms. They are passed on from generation to generation.

 

 

Las Pastorelas

Are plays or artistic representations of the story of baby Jesus. They take place in the days before Christmas, at schools, churches, or outdoor settings. They were first introduced by the Spanish missionaries in the 1500’s as a means of teaching the faith and the bible to the Indians.

The basic plot of a pastorela consists of several shepherds that are on their way to adore baby Jesus, but are discouraged by Lucifer himself. All of Lucifer’s attempts to stop the shepherds from reaching their destination fail, and they are safely able to deliver their offerings to the Christ child. Over the years the plays have been adapted to modern culture, and are funny, full of song, dance, and creative costumes. (The town of Tepotzotlan, Edo. de Mexico is famous for its pastorelas.)

Mexican Christmas traditions are rich, varied, and full of symbolisms. They are passed on from generation to generation.

La Piñata:

Is usually in the shape of a star with seven peaks, representing the 7 deadly sins. The person with the stick represents the faith, and the candy represents the temptation of evil. Pretty deep stuff! Even though the religious significance continues to get watered down through the years, the kids really enjoy it and some grown ups do too.

 

Mexican Christmas traditions are rich, varied, and full of symbolisms. They are passed on from generation to generation.

 

Nacimientos (Nativities):

Nativities were also introduced by the Spanish missionaries, but their origin can be traced back to Italy around 1223, where St. Francis of Assisi recreated the nativity with people, animals, and a little house made of straw. The live nativity tradition caught on in Europe and later evolved into figurines in people’s homes. When the nativity was adapted by the indigenous people of Mexico, it transformed into a scene of vivid color, with dark skinned characters made with materials such as glass, silver, lead, wood, or wax.

Today, nativity scenes are rarely historically accurate. They are decorated with green shrubbery, cactus, and maguey; they can have figurines like the mail man, milk man, the baker, and even the devil; and the size of baby Jesus can sometimes border on the ridiculous. Baby Jesus can almost be as large as the Mary and Joseph figurines or very, very tiny.

 

Mexican Christmas traditions are rich, varied, and full of symbolisms. They are passed on from generation to generation.

Noche Buena (Christmas Eve):

Christmas dinner in Mexico is usually celebrated on Christmas Eve, instead of Christmas day. Some families attend midnight mass, and some don’t. It is on this night when a large figurine of baby Jesus is laid down to rest in the manger and everyone adores and celebrates his birth. The dinner differs from region to region, but in our case we have turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, tamales, pozole, menudo, ponche, and beer or wine. Dessert would be buñuelos or my Tia Laura’s famous frozen cheesecake.

Mexican Christmas traditions are rich, varied, and full of symbolisms. They are passed on from generation to generation.

Mexican Christmas traditions are rich, varied, and full of symbolisms. They are passed on from generation to generation.

 

Fireworks:

Fireworks came to Mexico in the 19th century and were used (and still are) for ceremony and religious purposes. For Christmas, churches will light them after midnight mass or families set them off in their back yards to celebrate the birth of Christ.

Dia de Reyes (The Feast of the Epiphany):

Santa is becoming more popular in Mexico, especially in the border towns, but most kids get their gifts in January 6th, on the feast of the Epiphany. Traditionally the children leave a note for the Magi in their shoes, the night before, and place them under the Christmas tree or outside. The Magi respond by bringing them gifts the following morning, just as they brought gifts to the Christ child.

The Feast of the Epiphany is also commemorated with a Rosca de Reyes, an orange and anise scented king cake topped with dried and candied fruit. The fruit is meant to represent the crown´s jewels, and inside the bread is hidden a small figurine of baby Jesus. The lucky person to find baby Jesus in their piece of bread is designated to bring tamales on Feb. 2nd to the Feast of the Candelaria, but that´s another story.

Mexican Christmas traditions are rich, varied, and full of symbolisms. They are passed on from generation to generation.

Rosca de reyes mexicana|Source=commons.wikipedia|Author=Itzcuauhtli |Date=2009 |

Traditional Christmas Foods:

Tamales – Consist of seasoned corn dough (masa) filled with savory or sweet fillings, and wrapped in a corn husk or banana leaf and steamed. Their origin dates back to prehispanic times. The Aztecs, Mayans, Olmecas, and Toltecas prepared them for feasts and as a portable food.

Today they are still used in celebrations, such as Christmas. They are the ultimate comfort food for us Mexicans, well at least for me.
There are many variations, but in Coahuila, the state where I’m from, tamales are small, filled with shredded meat, seasoned with a salsa made with dried chiles, and wrapped in a corn husk.

Champurrado: Warm chocolate beverage thickened with corn flour or masa. It can also be flavored with anise, cinnamon, and vanilla. The best part of this drink is that it is made with Mexican chocolate. Mexican chocolate is basically cacao beans ground with sugar and cinnamon, this gives the champurrado a unique flavor that differs from American hot chocolate.

Ponche: Warm fruit punch containing pear, thornapple, sugar cane, guava, prunes, tamarind, orange peel, clove, and cinnamon.

Menudo: Beef tripe soup, flavored with a dried chile and garlic mixture, and served with radishes, cabbage, tostadas, lime juice oregano, and cilantro.

Pozole: Also a pre-Hispanic dish, which consists of shredded beef, hominy, a dried chile and garlic mixture, and served with cabbage, limes, tostadas, radish, cilantro, oregano, and onion.

Ensalada de Noche Buena: Christmas Eve salad made with beets, orange segments, peanuts, pomegranate, orange juice, and sugar.

Bacalao a la Vizcaina: Salt cod served in a tomato, garlic, red pepper, and olive sauce.

Buñuelos: Orange scented fritters dusted with cinnamon sugar or drizzled with a piloncillo syrup.

All these traditions are part of Mexico’s rich culture. What are some some of your favorite Christmas traditions or foods?

 

Sources:

Christmas in Mexico, World Book Encyclopedia, 1976