Puerto Vallarta has many Mexican Christmas traditions. As I have said many times before, they fully understand the true meaning of Christmas down here.
Once you've experienced it once, you will certainly want to come back to Mexico every December and enjoy the non stop festivities all over again.
If you are lucky enough to be down here in December, do not hope for a white Christmas. It is just not going to happen. Instead, expect warm temperatures and plenty of sunshine. Yes, that beautiful yellow thing in the sky. And please do plan on taking in some of this month's Mexican Christmas traditions. Most of all, enjoy the experience of this wonderful time of year in Puerto Vallarta.
The celebrations start on December 1st with the Festival of Guadalupe or in Spanish, Dia de Nuestra Seniora de Guadalupe. Puerto Vallarta and the rest of Mexico experience a spiritual pilgrimage to the town church to pay homage to the Virgin of Guadalupe.There are festivals all over town to celebrate this annual religious event. It goes right through to December 12th ending with a special mass and fireworks.
My favorite tradition is Las Posadas. This starts on December 16th and ends on Christmas Eve. Bringing whole communities together to play out Joseph and Mary's search for shelter.
Las Pastorelas is another annual event in Mexico. Plays are held by adults, children and professional groups. They reenact the shepherds journey to the Christ Child. Most of these plays are improvised and quite humourous.
Nativity Scenes are a huge part of this special time of year. Every house has them set up in the best room of the house. They usually consist of the stable, manger, Joseph, Mary and some stable animals. Sometimes the three wise men are there as well .
On Noche Bueno or "Christmas Eve", families take one more pilgrimage to the church. The church holds a special mass known as Roosters Mass or Misa de Gallo. When mass lets out, the fireworks light up the sky and families then go home to place Jesus in their Nativity Set.
All families have a special feast. It could be just about anything depending on what the family can afford. Children get to bust open piniata's and light sparklers. While the adults partake in some partying. This can last till the wee hours of the morning. But, on the actual day of Christmas, this time is for resting and eating the leftovers.
Now you probably think the celebrations are done now. Think again, there is more. Los Santos Inocentes is on December 28th. This is the Mexican version of April fools day. Everybody will try to fool you so do not believe a word any local says to you.
The last of the Mexican Christmas traditions is Los Reyes Magos or The Three Kings. On this day they celebrate the arrival of the three wise men bearing gifts. This is the day the children get gifts. They leave their shoes out the night before in hopes the wise men will leave them gifts on January 6th.