Mexican Traditions – Three Kings Day

Band in the street, Festival of OUr Lady Guadalupe, Taxco, Mexico


The holiday season in Mexico just goes on and on. First there is the The Feast of Our Lady Guadalupe which begins on December 1st and culminates on December 12th with marching bands playing repetitive music, feverish dancing, and of course fireworks.

Las Posadas procession, Taxco, Mexico




Then on the 16th, Las Posadas start and the calles (streets) and barrios (neighborhoods) are filled with the sound of children singing and pinatas breaking, along with candlelit processions, and more fireworks.


Families gather for Christmas Eve and Christmas but unlike back home, these are only days for family to be together; no gifts under the tree to open — well maybe a small gift or two.

Tonight is the night that Mexican children most look forward to. They set out their shoes in eager anticipation of finding them filled with gifts in the morning. Three Kings Day, January 6th, marks twelve days after Christmas Day, when supposedly the three kings appeared before the baby Jesus and presented him with the gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

At midnight, the sky will be punctuated with the sight and sound of fireworks and airworks (fireworks with only the boom), church bells will peal, and if they do not sleep though all that noise, children will open their gifts. The day will be marked with yet another family gathering where Rosca de Reyes (Wreath of Kings) bread will be eaten and whomever finds the baby Jesus in their piece gets to host the final holiday celebration, Dia de Candelaria, on February 2.

(To learn more about these Mexican traditions, follow the links above.)

Three Kings Day, Taxco, MexicoNo doubt there will also be another parade down my street. Can’t wait!



Mexican Traditions — Las Posadas

With a few days rest after the 12 day observance of the Festival of Our Lady of Guadalupe, culminating December 12th, December 16th marks the beginning of Las Posadas. For 9 nights, the barrios (neighborhoods) and callejons (small streets) around my house are filled with children singing and shouting, pinatas breaking, and of course, fireworks.

With roots in Catholicism, possibly started by Spanish friars who combined the December Aztec celebration of the birth of Huitzilopochtli (seen as the sun) into the celebration of Christmas, December 16, marks the start of 9 days (possibly representing the 9 months of the virgin Mary’s pregnancy) of nightly visits to the homes of friends and neighbors.

Las Posadas procession, Taxco, MexicoA little like carolers going from house to house in the US, Las Posadas include a procession with participants representing Mary and Joseph and other characters from the nativity scene, visiting the house of a neighbor. They sing a song asking for entry into the “inn”. The resident sings a song acknowledging the travelers and eventually invites the party, into the “inn” where everyone gathers around the nativity scene, prays, and feasts. Individuals may actually act out the parts — Mary, Joseph, angels, shepherds — with the person playing Mary actually riding a donkey (or burro).

Breaking the pinata, Las Posadas, Taxco, MexicoChildren may carry poinsettas. Usually a star shaped pinata ,with candy and fruit hidden inside, is broken as a symbol of faith overcoming the seven deadly sins as represented by the points on the star.

Pinatas, Taxco, Mexico






In my observance, though I am sure there are many who are devout in their observance, it appears, as in many cultures and many observances, that Las Posadas, for most, is just another reason to for a fiesta.

pinatas for sale, Taxco, Mexico