It can be a much-appreciated Christmas bonus at your job, or a sugar-laden bag of candy at a party. Either way, I’ll take it!
A traditional Christmas dish consisting of salted fish with olives and other condiments. People seem to either love or hate it, but I’ve never tried it.
C: Chipotles navideños
My favorite holiday food: giant chipotle peppers stuffed with cheese, dipped in egg, and fried. They’re the best the day after Christmas (or New Year’s), when you can use them for sandwich filling, like turkey and cranberry after Thanksgiving.
D: Día de la Virgen de Guadalupe
In the days leading up to Dec. 12th, you’ll see scores of hikers and cyclists moving in large caravans towards Mexico City. They’re all going to the Basílica de Guadalupe to see the Virgin on her day.
“Why elephant?,” you wonder. Because in most traditional nativity scenes, one of the three Kings arrives on an elephant! You can bet you’ll see him mounted on his elephant in at least one Zócalo (town or city square).
Christmas lanterns for decorating your nativity scene/street/etc.
You use this fruit to make ponche, a syrupy drink served hot with cinnamon sticks and sugar cane. (Tip: If you have a sweet tooth, pop the sugar cane pieces into your mouth and chew on them!)
H: Hacer una peregrinación
Making a pilgrammage, like those who go to see the Virgen de Guadalupe.
Incense, one of the items that the Three Kings brought. Again, if you go to a traditional Christmas party or visit any city square, you’ll find the Kings in sizes ranging from two inches to six feet tall, all lined up waiting to see baby Jesus in an elaborate nativity scene. You might even find a live King waiting to take a photo with your child.
Tiny jícamas are used as part of the filling for piñatas. Just don’t let them fall on your head when the piñata breaks!
Yes, kilos for the extra weight you’ll put on once you eat all the delicious holiday dishes available here!
L: Luces de bengala
Sparklers that you’ll use during your Christmas party as you sing to the Baby Jesus in your nativity scene.
The ubiquitous end-of-year mandarin orange– another piñata filling, but these won’t leave a big bump on your head.
You’ll surely have noticed the fairly recent installation of cameras to catch people speeding. Yes, they are real, and yes, they do work, so make sure you check this page to see if you’ve been fined:
We ventured out to San Luis Tehuiloyocan, about 15 minutes outside Cholula, to check out the “Casa del Diablo” (The Devil’s House). A perfect outing for Halloween weekend, right?
The “house” is not really a house, but just a patio with a well and one room in back. The outside of this room is decorated with a rock mural from 1760 depicting scenes from the Passion of Christ, the history of San Luis, the Nahual (loosely, an animal spirit) that protects the house, and two devils over the doorway, among many other things.
There are many legends about the house. Though it is now a library and the town’s Casa de Cultura, one of the girls who worked there gave us a short tour and told us some history. Supposedly the room was used for exorcisms, since it has angels facing inwards on the windows (which would prevent bad spirits from escaping outside), and the rafters are inscribed with The Lord’s Prayer in Latin…except the prayer is written backwards. It is certainly a strange building!
After leaving the house, we went up a nearby hill that had a church on top.
Behind the church, we discovered that the whole town, or so it seemed, was at at an outdoor mass and also in the cemetary, tending to their loved ones for Day of the Dead.
Overall, it was a neat place to visit!
We just celebrated Halloween at my school today, but it’s also Day of the Dead! Technically the dates are Oct. 28th, 31st, Nov. 1st and 2nd. So get your calavera (candy skull), your hojaldra (sweet bread with a “skull and bones” on top), and a candle and some cempasúchil (marigolds, which guide the spirits), and you’re ready. If you want to go all out, head to Huaquechula in Puebla state to see how it’s done.