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Feliz Navidad - Essay Example

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Feliz Navidad is the Mexican version of Christmas in the devoutly religious and predominantly Catholic Mexican culture. Actually it is a kind of an extended celebration preceding the traditional December 25th festivity and is called the Novena (a nine day celebration before the holy night of December 24, Christmas Eve)…
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Download file to see previous pages The performance consists of simple singing or chanting of religious songs and all the homes are set up as a "Nativity scene" where the home owners pose as inn keepers. The interesting part is that the procession carries candles and statues of Jesus and Mary as the re-enactors ask for lodging at three houses and only the third house lets them inside in accordance with the Christmas story. The guests then enter the chosen house and sing traditional Christmas and religious songs for the Virgin Mary which concludes into a famous piata party for the children.
Of course the ever famous Piata (which originates from Italian tradition) is the main object of interest for the children at these parties .This is a clay pot decorated with paper, and is filled with hard candy, peanuts sugar cane and fruit. The children are blindfolded and take turns at hitting it with a stick until it breaks so they can all have the sweet treats inside. The traditional Christmas piata is shaped like a star and has seven peaks, which symbolizes the seven deadly sins. The stick with which it is broken is a symbol of faith and therefore the destruction of the Piata is a symbol of the destruction of these deadly sins with faith.
The Mexicans also have a very unique tradition of exchanging presents at New Years Eve rather than on Christmas .This gift exchanging is known as Misa de Gallo (Rooster's Mass). Some families might even wait as late as the Wise Mens Day which is on January the 6th to exchange gifts because on this day the Magi brought gifts to the baby Jesus. Instead of stockings (like in the American culture) the children traditionally place their shoes near the window so the Magi can fill the shoes with gifts .The children also look forward to the Merienda, ( a tea time with hot chocolate) and La Meridenda, (an festive dinner) in celebration of this day.
This is a two week national holiday for the Mexicans .The US influence is ever present as in the recent decades there has been an adaptation of Santa Claus and many other American traditions. However the strong and unique Mexican culture continues to dominate these very family oriented traditions. The Holiday festivities end on the Noche Buena (Christmas Eve) with the celebration of a late-night Misa de Gallo (Rooster's Mass).This is followed by a festive dinner of traditional cuisines and sweet meats.
The Christmas celebration hardly ends there as on December 28, Day of the Holy Innocents there is a commemoration of King Herod's attempt to slaughter all the new born male infants including baby Jesus. The Mexicans add a comic twist to the day as they play pranks on each other just like the April fool's day.
The Christmas season continues merrily into the Three Kings Day which symbolises the arrival in Bethlehem of The Wise Men bringing gifts for baby Jesus. Reyes Magos is the Mexican version of the Santa Claus and on every January the 6th the native Mexican children hope to receive toys and gifts from this mythical figure.
The Mexicans with their merry culture and strong family ties make the Christmas festivities a treat for the eyes and the soul. The final Candlemas is on February the 2nd officially marking the end of ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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