Coco's Blog

Friday, 25 October 2013 16:58

Christmas Traditions Matter

Written by Coco
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Posada AngelsAt Vidacoco, we always talk about the importance of passing down traditions to our children. The Christmas season is a wonderful time to practice sharing the beautiful customs and memories that we remember from our childhood or to make new ones with our families and friends.

It seems like the past few weeks, Christmas traditions have often been a topic of discussion among my friends, at mommy and me classes, and it keeps coming across online and television.  It’s especially nice to hear about the many ways that this season is celebrated in the homes of those that I know, often combining new and older traditions.

Perhaps I find myself reflecting on traditions because I feel nostalgic about my Christmas childhood memories. My parents kept the focus on celebrating the birth of Christ and family, not so much on gifts to be given or received. During the Christmas season, we sometimes visited extended family in Mexico, but always made tamales, participated in the Posada novenas and ate pan dulce and drank traditional cinnamon spiced hot chocolate (Abuelita brand is now a household staple around here!).  New traditions that my parents didn't grow up celebrating were added, like believing in Santa and putting up a Christmas tree.  I don’t remember my parents stressing out about planning things to do or getting done during the Christmas season, they simply remembered their family traditions and added new ones, and they didn't spend much money doing so. Now that I have my own children, I am working on remembering that it's really the non-commercial aspect of the season that matters, but amidst the planning and preparations it's not always easy to do!

 

PosadaIn an effort to teach my children about their Mexican heritage, I’m working on incorporating some of the traditional ways in which this Christmas season is celebrated in Mexico too. My favorite Christmas tradition is celebrating Las Posadas. They are a beautiful celebration of processions and parties starting December 16th and lasting for 9 consecutive days in anticipation of Noche Buena, or Christmas Eve. Posada literally means “lodging” in Spanish and they commemorate the journey that Mary and Joseph took from Nazareth to Bethlehem before Jesus’ birth on Christmas. Last year, my husband and I hosted are own Posada party and invited many our friends.  For many of them, it was their first time at a Posada celebration.

My parents taught me to prepare for Christmas with the Posadas. Christmas arrived on Noche Buena, Christmas Eve on the 24th, traditionally celebrated with a large family meal and Misa de Gallo, or Midnight Mass. Traditionally in Mexico, the celebration continues with another large family gathering and meal on New Year's eve and once again gathering for the official end of the Christmas season with la Fiesta de los Reyes Magos (the Feast of the Three Kings or Epiphany) on January 6th.  As a matter of fact, on the Eve of this feast, my siblings and I would, as tradition in Mexico, leave out our shoes (the biggest ones of course!) outside the front door in anticipation of the Three Kings paying our home a visit and leaving some treats behind in our shoes!

Posada mariachiGrowing up in a mostly Latino community on the Southside of Chicago, these Christmas traditions seemed normal to me. It was mostly at school that I learned about new traditions (the ones my husband celebrated), like the Advent wreath and calendar, baking cookies and Christmas stockings. They are now a part of my children's Christmas celebrations. Really, what I want from it is for my children to know the true meaning of this season, the birth of Christ, and to celebrate it with some of the wonderful traditions I remember, the new ones my husband and I are trying to create for our family and the ones they will want to add...

Last modified on Tuesday, 21 January 2014 23:56
Coco

Coco

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