For many of us, Christmas is symbolized by snowy scenes, festive sweaters, and steaming cups of mulled wine. But, for a complete change of scene, have you ever considered Cancun over the holidays? Replace shivering in the cold with basking in the sunshine. Swap the holiday sweater for bright red swimwear, and the mulled cider with an icy cold cocktail. Appealing?
Read on to hear what you can expect from spending Christmas in Cancun.
For vacationers spending the holiday season in a Cancun resort, you’re in for a treat. Many of your favorite traditions from home will be recognized, including playing holiday tunes – Feliz Navidad, of course – and serving up a delicious Christmas meal. Plus, you’ll be surrounded by the usual Christmas paraphernalia, with candy canes and Christmas trees all around. In some hotels, Santa may even make an appearance!
Spending Christmas in Cancun brings with it a special kind of atmosphere. Resort staff are full of festive cheer and working hard to make this an unforgettable experience for each and every guest. Bars and resort restaurants are lively, with everyone primed to enjoy the happiest time of the year. While Christmas is one of the busiest times of the year for resorts in Cancun, the mood remains laid back and cheerful. Expect resorts to have lots of daily activities and be bustling with celebrations. It’s also good to have a little patience as peak season can mean crowds and having to wait in line for meals and drinks.
If you’re not staying in an All-Inclusive hotel, many of Cancun’s best restaurants will be open and serving up international Christmas favorites, as well as some Mexican staples you may not have sampled before. See if you can find Noche Buena, a Mexican beer available only during the holiday season.
Unlike back at home, many of Cancun’s major attractions are open on Christmas Day. You could take a tour like this to the ever-popular Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza, or experience the jungle and some Christmas day snorkeling on this tour. That really would make Christmas memories with a difference!
For Mexicans, the Christmas season looks a little different from what we’re used to in the States.
For the nine days leading up to Christmas Eve, posadas are held. These are Mexican processions, recreating Mary and Joseph’s pilgrimage to Bethlehem.
Posadas are a celebratory part of the holiday season, with daily parties arranged for family and friends. Ponche de Paquete is often served, which is a delicious drink made from fruit and spiced with cinnamon. Traditionally, nativity scenes are set up and remain in place for the whole season, from December 16th through to January 6th.
Christmas Eve is a special day in Mexico when the nine days of posadas end and families get together to celebrate. Christmas Eve – or Noche Buena in Spanish – is a time for eating a meal together followed by parties, many lasting late into the night. Because of this, a lot of stores and restaurants will be closed in the evening.
Christmas day is less of a focus for Mexicans traditionally, although due to international influence, many families now share gifts on this day and eat a meal together. Most restaurants and even some stores will be open on Christmas Day.
Another special day in the Mexican festive calendar is Day of the Kings, which takes place on 6 January, and officially ends the holiday season.
Historically, this is the day when gifts are exchanged, mirroring the gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh that the Three Kings gave to baby Jesus. Children leave shoes outside their doors and wake to find them filled with toys and gifts.
A bread called Rosca de Reyes is also served, inside are hidden dolls representing Jesus. Whoever finds a doll has to host a party on 2 February, which is Dia de la Candelaria, another festival day marking the end of winter.
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