Religion plays a big role in Latin America. The majority of the population in Latin America is catholic, and Catholicism plays a huge role in their values, traditions, food, and culture. One extremely popular holiday celebrated in Latin America is Christmas.
Latin America is predominantly catholic, so Christmas is celebrated as the birth of Christ. Religion can often be displayed through Christmas decorations in Latin America.
During Christmas, many families in Latin America decorate their Christmas trees with figurines that represent la nacimiento (the birth of Christ). The figurines include Mary (Christ’s mother), Joseph (Christ’s father), the three kings, camels, a donkey, and baby Jesus. The figurines of the birth of Christ are typically placed under a Christmas tree.
Religion is not only is present in decorations in Latin America, but also in their festivities. Before Christmas many Latinos and Hispanics attend a posada. A posada is a religious celebration in Latin America during Christmas. A posada is the reenactment of Joseph and Mary’s search for shelter and is often performed by young children. Posadas can be held by a community in an organized group or they can be held/performed by the church with a mass. Some schools in Mexico have been known to hold posadas because most of the population is catholic, so the schools see celebrating the holiday as a necessity for their youth.
I tried attending a posada held by a school during my trip to Mexico, but unfortunately their posada had already finished by the time I arrived. During my trip to Mexico I attended a posada from a local church. The posada I went to was performed by children under the age of 11, and they had a comedic approach to the story of Christ’s birth.
During my stay in Mexico I found that most families (including my own) typically ate menudo, buñuelous, arroz con leche (rice pudding), tamales, and empanadas for Christmas. One popular dish I kept eating in Mexico is empanadas.Empanadas can be a pastry or a meal. Empanadas can either be filled with vegetables and meat or they can be filled with jelly.
Some popular foods during Christmas in Latin America are rosca de reyes (a bread with candied fruits), tamales , pan de jamón ( bread stuffed with ham ) , arroz con leche ( rice pudding ) , flan ( a dessert ), and rice with chicken .
For most people, Christmas is over on December 26th, but in Mexico Christmas festivities end on the 2nd of February. The 2nd of February is known as the Candelaria or Candlemas. Candelaria is a holiday meant to celebrate and honor Christ. On Candelaria people honor Christ by taking a figure of Christ as a child (a doll) to church, and they have his figure blessed during mass.