Published On: Tue, Dec 23rd, 2014

Christmas in San Miguel de Allende: A Time of Joy, Faith, Color and Fun

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Christmas in San Miguel

Christmas in San Miguel

It’s Christmas time, and December events in San Miguel de Allende sparkle with color and tinsel, piñatas and posadas, high mass and low comedy.

Most December events in San Miguel de Allende center around Christmas and its related celebrations, but there are a few others to enjoy as well.Many Mexicans get a longish vacation at Christmas, and though the beaches are the first choice of venue for many, a whole slew of them choose to spend the holidays in San Miguel. It’s wise to make room reservations well in advance.

Festival de San MiguelChamber Music Festival. Begun in 1987, the Festival de San Miguel is the second chamber music festival of the year. It’s been recognized by the Mexican government as the country’s best classical music festival.

Las Posadas.Not one event, but a string of December events in San Miguel de Allende, the nine nights of the posadas—which means “inn”—represent the nine-day journey of Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem. In a different coloniaeach night, a boy dressed as Joseph and a young girl dressed as Mary (usually riding donkey) parade through the streets knocking on doors only to be turned away because there is “no room at the inn.” After all, sings the household, “you might be a rogue.”

At each door, they sing the traditional Posada Song, “Pidiendo Posada,”(Begging for Shelter). Learn all the lyrics to the Posada Song here. There’s even a sound link to listen to the tune itself if you don’t know it.

Finally, the Holy Couple finds an open door and a welcome, and everyone is offered food and hot fruit ponche to drink. Piñatas get broken and candy gobbled. Try this ponche recipe yourself. It’s a true Mexican taste of Christmas.

Pastorelas are another highlight of this period. These passion plays mix spirituality with high spirits, often with flying angels and evil devils getting their due. Broad satire often lampoons political figures. There is usually a wonderful pastorela at Bellas Artes, in Downtown San Miguel.

Christmas in San Miguel de Allende

Christmas in San Miguel de Allende

December 24th iNoche Buena – Christmas Eve. This hight is actually more important to Mexicans than Christmas Day. During the day, a life-size manger is set up in the center of the Jardín, complete with live lambs and a burro. The lastposada of the season passes by here in early evening, then everyone goes home to get ready for the party. And like any good Mexican party, it goes on most of the night.

After going to midnight mass, Mexican families sit down to a feast, often a traditional meal of bacalao, a salt cod dish I’ve personally decided you have to grow up with to enjoy. Afterward, everyone opens their gifts, though the children’s main presents will be kept until Three Kings’ Day, Day of the Epiphany, on January 6th.


December 25th is Día de Navidad, Christmas Day. If the 24th is for the family, and church, then 25th is the time for romenading through the streets and meeting friends. It’s a much more low-key day than folks from the U.S. and Canada are used to, but still a lively and joyous December event in San Miguel de Allende.

Dia de los Santos Inocentes, day of the Holy Innocents. This day commemorates the day Herod sent out his troops to slaughter all male children under two years old, in hopes of catching and killing the newborn King he heard had been born in Bethlehem. But despite its bloody historical basis, it’s a day of fun and jokes—Jesus did escape, after all. Mexicans play elaborate practical jokes on each other today. If you fall for one, you’ll hear the cry of “Inocente! Inocente!”—roughly equivalent to being called an April Fool in the U.S.

December 31 – New Year’s Eve. One of the most festive nights of the year. Everyone comes out. The Jardín is jam-packed. Bars are hopping. Music seems to poor out of every door and window. Don’t plan to eat anywhere fancy without reservations.

At midnight tonight, Mexicans will eat 12 grapes as a talisman for luck in the twelve months of the coming year.

Tonight offers up one of the more impressive fireworks displays of the year. It’s the last and one of the best December events in San Miguel de Allende.

As the year ends, it’s wonderful to just take a moment to look around and be thankful you’re in this magical Mexican paradise.




Mexico Travel Care




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