Why do the Mexicans wait until Feb. 2nd to take down Christmas Decorations?

February 3, 2009

Why do you think the Mexicans wait until early February to take down Christmas decorations?

Is this just part of the manana attitude?

No this time there’s a religious reason behind their tardiness.

It’s called “Día de la Candelaria or Candlemas” and is a Christian celebration celebrated all over Mexico.

The celebrations vary from area to area.

Candlemas ends the Christmas season. Candlemas is also known as Purification of the Virgin which is to commemorate the presentation of Jesus as a boy in the temple by his parents according to Jewish Custom.

The part about marking the day Mary was purified is currently de-emphasized by the Catholic church.

The Candlemas celebration often  involves a party of some type.

The host is the one who found the baby Jesus ornament in the Three Kings cake on Dia del los Reyes (Three Kings Day).  He or she is responsible for dressing the Baby Jesus in a Christening gown. (Afterwards the nativity scenes and all other decorations relating to Christmas are put away.)

Well, guess who found the plastic Jesus symbol in the Three Kings Cake brought home by wife Arcelia from her family’s celebration of Three Kings day in Guadalajara.

If you guessed it was me. “Choose any gift off the bottom shelf”

So, we invited Arcelia’s sister Adelinda “Adi”  and husband Pepe out for a visit as they were the hosting family for the previous Christmas celebration.

Arcelia and I served a big breakfast of scrambled eggs with mushrooms, frijoles, fresh fruit, guacamole, fancy bread, and various types of hot to mild sauces (mild for me of course) and café de olla ( a strong brewed brown sugar and cinnamon coffee).

The coffee is made the old fashioned way of boiling water with good fresh ground coffee dumped into the boiling water with a molasses type brown sugar added along with real cinnamon sticks for additional flavoring.

A more traditional Día de la Candelaria dinner includes Tamales (corn bread filled with meats wrapped in corn husks) and Atole (a heated drink based on cornstarch and meal, water, cinnamon, vanilla and sometimes chocolate or fruit.)

Towns throughout Mexico differ in their celebrations. Some decorate the streets with lanterns, hold bullfights and fiestas. In many churches, candles, seeds and plants are blessed for the new year.

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