Q:

How do Mexicans celebrate Christmas?

A:

Many Mexican nationals celebrate what is known as Las Posadas, which is a nine-day celebration that begins on December 16 and ends on December 24. The last day of the celebration is known as Buena Noche. This day is celebrated with a procession to a church – known as Posada – and midnight mass.

The nine days of Las Posadas are usually celebrated by children singing a song each night and visiting neighbors' homes to mimic the Biblical story where Mary and Joseph looked for shelter prior to Christ's birth. For this event, children typically dress up in costumes and carry small statues of Mary and Joseph.

On December 24, children leave their shoes near a window and wake up to find small gifts inside the shoes. On Christmas Day, it is common for families to attend church services. Later in the day, families set up nativity scenes – known as nacimientos – and many children receive presents that are supposed to be from Santa Claus.

Las Posadas is also celebrated by decorating the outside of homes and businesses with lilies and evergreens. Farolito – a brown paper bag with cut-out designs that is placed over a candle – is another popular decoration. Star-shaped piñatas are also commonly set up for children to open after family dinners during Las Posadas.

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