If you decide to stay in the beautiful city of Mérida for the Christmas season, you can participate in many religious, traditional, and celebratory activities, all of them full of brotherhood and joy.
Decoration and lights
During these dates the main avenues and city parks are decorated with ornaments and lights in the shapes of bells, pine trees, candy canes, stars, and Christmas designs, transforming a tour on foot or by car into an unforgettable moment, specially at night when you can see all the lights.
Nativity scene and Christmas trees
Don’t miss the monumental Nativity scene at the Plaza Grande that amazes visitors, the one at the Municipal Palace, and at the Government Palace. Also the Christmas decorations in the parks of Las Américas, La Mejorada, Colonia Alemán, and La Ermita. But if you love Christmas trees, visit the parking lot of Patio Mérida, Chedraui Selecto Norte, and the “Remate” of Paseo de Montejo. At the main malls you will also find Christmas decoration.
Since the beginning of December, mainly in the neighborhoods and in Centro, groups of children and youths carrying a box decorated with branches (“ramas”), lights and images of the Lady of Guadalupe or Nativity scenes, walk from house to house singing the traditional welcome song and greeting where they ask for a gift of some coins; this activity is known as “La Rama.” The best part is the songs of gratitude when they do receive some coins…but if they don’t receive any, they sing some songs of distress. This takes place until December 15.
Then the posadas begin on December 16, nine days before Christmas Eve. The journey to find shelter for Joseph and the Virgin Mary is recreated, usually at gatherings of family and friends, ending with a delicious dinner. Ask about it, and if you are invited you must attend, you will be able to choose if you want to be a pilgrim or a host!
The homes of Yucatecan families also display nice Nativity scenes, decorated with representations of the main images: Joseph, the Virgin Mary, angels, animals, and the Three Wise Men. You will find a lot of creativity applied in the display of the Nativity scenes. It’s a tradition to sing a lullaby to Baby Jesus on December 24 and “raise” him up on February 2.
Finally, the Christmas Eve party starts with a Midnight Mass on December 24. After that, you can break the traditional piñatas, light some sparklers, and of course enjoy the traditional turkey dinner, roast pork with cloves, and many more dishes from the Yucatecan gastronomy.
There are many options to enjoy the Christmas season, Yucatán style!
By Violeta H. Cantarell
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