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Making Merry, Mexican Style
Monday, 18 December 2017 7:49:58 AM Australia/Sydney
NAJO’s Favourite Mexican Christmas Traditions
It’s our last post for 2017 so from our family to yours, merry Christmas! NAJO is a proudly independent, Australian silver jewellery brand and business, but our spirit will always be tied to Mexico. It’s where our brand began, and it remains the inspiration for so many of our most enduring sterling silver jewellery designs.
So when it comes to celebrating this Christmas, we at NAJO will be taking our cues from the rich traditions of a classic Mexican Christmas. Many of Mexico’s festive customs have their foundations in Spanish Catholicism, but even if you don’t share the same level of religious devotion you can still find inspiration in the beauty of these seasonal rituals, and maybe even reinterpret some of them in your own Christmas traditions.
Mexican iconography & Nativity scenes
One of the most ubiquitous sights in Mexico during December are the Nacimientos or nativity scenes that decorate public spaces on a large scale and people’s homes on a smaller scale. These scenes depicting the birth of baby Jesus are also opportunities to showcase the marvellous folk art and artistry so widespread throughout Mexico. Colourful, stylised scenes handpainted on wood, ceramic, tin and more. Alongside these Nacimientos are the other exquisite examples of Mexican iconography and religious art, especially those crafted by talented silversmiths to represent the Madonna or a Crucifix which are displayed in homes year-round.
Take your cue: Bring a little Mexican flair to your Christmas decorating, NAJO style. Go for bold fiesta colours like hot pink and yellow, display a small folk art nativity, and maybe add your favourite travel souvenirs to your tree this year.
Most of us associate piñatas with Mexican celebrations, but did you know that they were introduced as a Christmas custom? Some have suggested that the traditional star shaped piñata (once made from clay rather than cardboard) seen at Christmastime was originally meant to teach people to maintain ‘blind faith’ (hence the blindfold) in the face of temptation (i.e. the sweet treats inside). Beating down the piñata to win the treats was thought to symbolise the reward for fighting against temptation. Today of course, the piñata is widely regarded as a fun festive exercise, just like a giant shared version of the Christmas cracker.
Take your cue: Hang a piñata, of course!
Christmas Eve & January 6 instead of Christmas Day
An important Mexican custom is Las Posadas, a nine-day celebration starting on December 16 and culminating in a major Christmas Eve feast after midnight mass. Christmas Day itself does not carry the same emphasis in Mexico as it does in Australia. Instead, the traditional day for exchanging and receiving gifts is on January 6, which is known in Mexico as Día de Reyes or “the Day of the Kings” – when the Three Wise Men brought their precious gifts to the baby Jesus.
Take your cue: Extend the season’s fun by hosting parties on Christmas Eve and/or January 6 in addition to the main event. And of course, those Three Wise Men knew the importance of a precious gift, so what could be more fitting than giving the gift of fine jewellery? Shop NAJO’s Mexican-inspired La Luz collection now.