Let’s Celebrate an Old Time Style Christmas Season at Lake Chapala, Mexico

December 18, 2010

Let's Celebrate an Old Time Style Christmas Season at Lake Chapala, Mexico

Christmas is a special time at Lake Chapala, Mexico. Yes, perhaps a bit more special than in other parts of the world. Lake Chapala – Ajijic still has a small town atmosphere; and like Mexico in general has resisted the commercialization of the celebration.
Yes, presents are exchanged, but Santa Claus has not caught on to nearly the degree that he has in the USA or Canada, not that the merchants aren’t trying.
Presents are exchanged on Christmas Eve (Noche Buena) and most people here go to Mass that evening to celebrate the the Christ Child’s birth.
After Mass, families have the evening meal at home with their family and place the Baby Jesus in the manger in the Nativity scene.
A popular drink served at Christmas time is a type of special drink made from various types of fresh fruit not unlike the spice tea many North Americans serve.
Sometimes the spice tea which will have lumps of the fruit in it is spiked with a bit of rum or brandy (or, of course, tequila!).
At least this is how my Mexican family here celebrate the big day.
Now here’s another  day not to forget in December if you have Mexican friends or family like I do.
The day is December 28th each year. In Mexico this day is ‘Día de los santos inocentes’ or ‘Day of the Innocent Saints’ and is not unlike April Fool’s Day in the USA or Canada.
Tricks are played on each other or wild stories are told. Even the news media gets involved not unlike the weathermen in the USA seeing Santa on radar.
New Year’s Eve presents another opportunity for a celebration and like most celebrations here a mass is associated with the celebration and traditionally held at midnight.
At this mass thanks are given for all the blessings received throughout the year and prayers go up for guidance and blessings for the New Year to come.

Another tradition on News Year’s Eve (also referred to as ‘Nochevieja’) or ‘The Old Night’ is the tradition in which you eat 12 grapes, one with each stroke of the clock sounding the midnight hour.
Each grape represents a month of the coming year. Somehow this is supposed to bring you good luck all year long if you eat all twelve of the grapes.
New Year’s Day, like Christmas Day is normally passed quietly at home with the family.
So, come visit us at this special time of the year. It will be like stepping back to a happier, less hetic time of years gone by.
 I’ll leave the light on for you  (The Christmas lights too !)
Siempre tu amigo,


  • Hon. Edmund IV DaHinten

    I am curious, until what time does the Noche Buena celebration last in the Ajijic/Lake Chapala area? is it an all night celebration as in other places that celebrate Noche Buena?

    I understand the peak is at midnight, but do people there keep on celebrating way past midnight? maybe until the sun comes up? from 6 pm to 6 am? with firecrackers all the time?

    (6 pm to 6 am celebration is what I understand as Noche Buena, Christmas Eve is from about 6 pm to midnight, or even before, up until about 10 pm. So Noche Buena is not exactly Christmas Eve, since Noche Buena goes well beyond the eve).

  • http://www.chapalaclub.com Sid Grosvenor

    Hi Edmund, Thanks for your input. I think that the evening’s festivities will last past midnight, but
    not necessarily all night long.

    My Mexican family doesn’t celebrate it all night long, but I do hear fireworks well after midnight. I also think that
    the celebrations vary somewhat from area to area within Mexico.

    Thanks agan for your input.Felize Navidad, Sid

  • http://chapalaclub Enrique Vicencio

    Hi, I was wondering if their is a mexican banda dance(baile) on New Years Eve? And how long does it last?

  • http://www.chapalaclub.com Sid Grosvenor

    I’m sure there must be but not sure about how long any particular one may last.

    My wife spend the evening withe her family. Perhaps someone rlse my have more details.

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