Christmas Posada in Small-Town Mexico

A Christmas Posada
in Small-Town Mexico:
Lots of Children

Once we spent Christmas in a small town in Michoacan, Mexico where the birth rate is still exponential. In that town the posadas are only for the kids. Someone sets up which houses will be visited by “Mary” and “Joseph,” in which order, and who will host each day’s posada. Those houses which will refuse entrance to Mary and Joseph have to make about 50 bags of candy to give away that night.

At the appointed time kids from all over town arrive at the correct home. The children don’t even notice the tiny entourage of faithful who remember what Christmas is all about as they go from home to home singing with their cute teenaged “Mary” and stiff adolescent “Joseph” (who knows how they talked HIM into dressing up.) When it’s time to give out the bags of candy someone makes all 200-some kids line up. They stay lined up for about 2 seconds, then it’s a mob of kids running about and seeing who got the better “aguinaldo.”

My husband and I attended these posadas, enjoying the punch and candies along with the kids and their teenaged chaperones.

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Traditional Christmas Recipes in Mexico

Recipes For 

Two Traditional Treats
Made in Mexcio at
Christmas Time

Mexican Hot Christmas Punch
“Ponche”

Try out this wonderful traditional Christmas recipe from Mexico once you are finally living or retire in Mexico.

When Christmas time rolls around, in the biggest pot you can get your hands on—like the one grandma used to seal her canning jars in, boil the following items:

½ kilo of peeled sugar cane, cut into 3 inch lengths then split lengthwise into string-cheeze sized sticks.

½ kilo cored, and very coarsely sliced apple.

½ kilo quartered guavas

photo of a tejocote ½ kilo tejocote (tey-ho-co-tey) (You have to be in Mexico to add this. I have no idea what it would be called in English. The picture at right shows two tejocotes.)

½ kilo tamarindo (ta-ma-reen-do) (This is a seed pod with a sour flavor that is common in Mexico.)

1/4 kilo prunes or raisins

1/8 kilo cinnamon sticks broken into large pieces

½ kilo piloncillo (pee-lone-see-yo) (This is a delicious form of brown sugar traditional in Mexico.)

Sugar to taste (If you can’t get piloncillo, I recommend that you use 100% brown sugar for your punch)

Boil until all of the fruit is very soft.

Serve hot with brandy or tequila on the side for those who like a little nip.

Makes 5 gallons of punch

Note: a kilo is 2.2 pounds. If you want to make this recipe in the US, multiply everything by two. The amounts are approximations and you can feel free to change the proportions in any way you would like.

Don’t worry if you can’t get the Mexican ingredients; it’ll still taste delicious!

Leave the skins on all of the fruit, it makes for better flavor and texture. Serve the punch with chunks of fruit. Part of the punch experience is getting at the fruit once you’ve enjoyed the liquid.

Buñuelos
(Boon-you-eh-los)

Another traditional treat made at Christmas and other times during cooler weather in Mexico are buñuelos. They are delicious — something like our elephant ears or “Indian” fry bread. As with all traditional recipes there are as many ways to make them as there are mothers and grandmothers in Mexico. Here is one recipe given to me by someone in my neighborhood. When you are finally living or retired in Mexico, try it out — or ask your neighbors for their version.

½ kilo of flour

8 egg yolks

1 teaspoon lard (I’ve seen it done with vegetable oil)

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ kilo sugar

1 liter of cooking oil

Powdered cinnamon

Make a crater in the flour, add the eight egg yolks, the lard, and baking powder. Add a little water (the water can be sweetened with a little sugar if you so desire) and knead with hands until a soft past is formed. Keep kneading until it doesn’t stick to your hands. Let it rest a half hour and then roll out into large, thin circles. (Try to get the circles thinner than you would for a pie crust. The dimensions should be approximately 8 inches in diameter and 1/8 th of an inch thick.) Have a wide, flat pan ready with the hot oil about an inch deep. Fry the rounds in the oil until they are as evenly golden as possible (you may have to press down on bubbles as they form to make sure that they cook evenly.) Drain and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Eat while hot and crunchy!

In this recipe, the buñuelos remain crunchy and are covered by cinnamon and sugar. Other people dip them in a hot syrup made of piloncillo (a traditional brown sugar) and cloves (and other ingredients?), still others cut them up and leave them in the hot syrup until they are mushy.

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Christmas Posada Song

This song is sung at all traditional Christmas posadas in Mexico

See English translation below.

SPANISH

Para dar y pedir posada
-Fuera:En nombre del Cielo os pido posada pues no puede andar mi esposa amada.

-Fuera:

No seas inhumano ténnos caridad. Que el Dios de los cielos te lo premiará.

-Fuera:

Venimos rendidos desde Nazareth, yo soy carpintero de nombre José.

-Fuera:

Posada te pide, amado casero, por sólo una noche, la Reina del Cielo.

-Fuera:

Mi esposa es María, es Reina del Cielo, y madre va a ser del Divino Verbo.

-Fuera:

Dios pague señores, vuestra caridad, y que os colme el cielo de felicidad.

Al abrir las puertas

-Fuera:

Cantemos con alegría todos al considerar, que Jesús, José y María nos vinieron a honrar. Humildes peregrinos Jesús, María, y José el alma doy por ellos mi corazón también.

Al despedirse lo Peregrinos

Pedimos al cielo que esta caridad os Premie colmandoós de felicidad. Mil gracias os damos que en esta ocasión posada nos distéis con sencillo y leal corazón.

Para dar y pedir posada
-Dentro:Aquí no es mesón sigan adelante, yo no debo abrir, no sea algún tunante.

-Dentro:

Ya se pueden ir y no molestar, porque si me enfado os voy a apalear.

-Dentro:

No me importa el nombre déjenme dormir pues que yo les digo que no hemos de abrir.

-Dentro:

Pues si es una reina quien lo solicita ¿cómo es que de noche anda tan solita?

-Dentro:

¿Eres tu José? ¿Tu esposa es María? entren, Peregrinos, no los conocía.

-Dentro:

¡Dichosa la casa que alberga este día a la virgen pura, la hermosa María!

Al abrir las puertas

-Dentro:

Entren, Santos Peregrinos reciban esta mansión, que aunque pobre la morada os la doy de corazón. Oh peregrina agraciada. Oh bellísima María. Yo os ofrezco el alma mía para que tengáis posada.

ENGLISH

To Give and Receive Lodging
-Outside:In the name of Heaven please grant us lodging. My beloved wife can’t go any further.

-Outside:

Don’t be cruel; have pity on us. May God in Heaven reward you.

-Outside:

We come tired from Nazareth. I’m Joseph, a carpenter.
-Outside:

Dear inn keeper, the Queen of Heaven requests lodging from you for only one night.

-Outside:

My wife is Mary, Queen of Heaven and mother of the Holy Verb.

-Outside:

God bless your pity and grant you happiness.

Upon opening the door

-Outside:

We all sing with joy, knowing that Jesus, Joseph and Mary came to honor us. I give my soul and heart to the humble travelers, Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.

The travelers, upon saying goodbye

May Heaven grant you happiness for your hospitality. Many thanks we give for the lodging you gave from your humble, loyal heart.

To Give and Receive Lodging
-Inside:This isn’t an inn and I shouldn’t open the door, go on, you might be a thief.

-Inside:

Move on. Don’t bother me because if I get angry I’ll club you.

-Inside:

I don’t care what your name is. Let me sleep. I already told you I’m not going to open the door.

-Inside:

If it’s a queen who asks, why is she out at night with no protection?

-Inside:

Is that you, Joseph? Your wife is Mary? Come in travelers. I didn’t recognize you.

-Inside:

Lucky the house that protects the pure virgin, the beautiful Mary!

Upon opening the doors

-Inside:

Come in holy travelers, accept this mansion, that although my house is poor, I give you my heart. Oh thankful traveler. Oh beautiful Mary. I offer you my soul so that you can have lodging.

Source: Pamphlet sold at the market before Christmas. Title: Antigua Novena Para Posadas: Completa. No source or date are given.

Note: This translation is an informal one done by me. I seriously doubt that it could be used to actually sing along with the song.

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