No matter where you are on earth, there’s something special in the air during the Christmas holiday season. And in San Miguel de Allende, that is understatement. Here in the warm and welcoming historic city it’s a time that sparkles with color and tinsel, piñatas and posadas, high mass and traditional memories that one will cherish throughout a lifetime.
Not one event, yet many, fill the holiday calendar.
Some of the highlights include the Las Posadas that represent the nine-day journey of Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem. In a different colonia each night, a boy dressed as Joseph and a young girl dressed as Mary (usually riding donkey) parade through the streets knocking on doors only to be turned away because there is “no room at the inn.
Then there are the Pastorelas – a centuries-old Christmas tradition – which are described as “passion plays that mix spirituality with high spirits” and often include flying angels and evil devils getting their due.
December 24th is Noche Buena – Christmas Eve. This night is actually more important to Mexicans than Christmas Day. During the day, a life-size manger is set up in the center of the Jardín, complete with live lambs and a burro. The last posada of the season passes by here in early evening, then everyone goes home to get ready for the party. And like any good Mexican party, it goes on most of the night.
After going to midnight mass, Mexican families sit down to a feast, often a traditional meal of bacalao, a salt cod dish. Afterward, everyone opens their gifts, though the children’s main presents will be kept until Three Kings’ Day, Day of the Epiphany, on January 6th.
December 25th is Día de Navidad, Christmas Day. If the 24th is for the family, and church, then 25th is the time for strolling through the streets and meeting friends. It’s a much more low-key day than folks from the U.S. and Canada are used to, but still a lively and joyous December event in San Miguel de Allende.