Home LifestyleArt and Culture “Las Ramadas”: A Yucatecan Christmas season tradition

“Las Ramadas”: A Yucatecan Christmas season tradition

by Yucatan Times
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December has arrived, and as usual the streets are full of Christmas spirit; in Yucatan a clear sign of that is seeing the children at night walking down the street grabbing a tree branch, a box with an image of Maria Virgin inside and another box to store money, singing the traditional “Ramada” song…

MERIDA – Mexicans have lots of traditions for Christmas season, in fact they even have a name for this time of the year: “Guadalupe-Reyes”, making reference to the festivities held from December 12 (Feast of the Virgin of Guadalupe, Religious patroness of Mexico) till January 6 (Epiphany day, Día de Reyes in Spanish).

Children going on Ramadas (Photo: SIPSE)

That establishes this season as the most important party time of the year, because right after the “Novenas” (religious celebration for the Virgin of Guadalupe, in which there are prayers, and lots of traditional food) held on December 12, everybody starts going to the traditional “Posadas” (parties with a religious origin that now days have become the best reason to meet, eat and drink with family and friends), then people attend the Christmas eve and Christmas day parties, later the New’s Year celebration to finish with the Epiphany day eating “Rosca de Reyes” and drinking a lot of Hot Chocolate along with the family.

But previous to all of that, from December 1st till 11th, children go through the streets of their own neighborhood, usually accompanied by parents and friends, in a tour that could recall a little bit to the American tradition “trick or treat” at Halloween. But here they aren’t asking for candy — they are asking for money to make their own posada, and the children don’t go in costume, they go in their regular/winter clothes, depending on weather.

There are no rules to sing the ramadas, just to carry a tree branch or decoration. (Photo: Youtube)

Because the “Ramadas” is a tradition for the kids, there aren’t strict rules to go on them. But what can’t be missing is a Christmas decorated tree branch that kids must carry on through the whole tour, a María Virgin image inside a decorated box or a representation of the nativity, something to keep the money safe and, of course, the traditional song that children must sing at each house they go to during the tour.

Kids don’t have a minimum number of houses to visit or a schedule to accomplish, nor a fixed route to follow. They do it all the time they want and when they think having money enough they could stop the tour and save the earnings to keep on going the next night.

(Photo: Yucatan a la Mano)

The lyrics have differences between the states where they are sung, but here TYT brings you the lyrics of the Yucatecan song in Spanish:

Me paro en la puerta, me quito el sombrero

porque en esta casa vive un caballero.

Vive un caballero, vive un general

y nos da permiso para comenzar.

Naranjas y limas, limas y limones

aquí está la virgen de todas las flores.

En un jacalito de cal y de arena

nació Jesucristo para Nochebuena.

A la media noche un gallo canto

y en su canto dijo: “Ya Cristo nació”

Zacatito verde, lleno de roció

el que no se tape se muere de frío.

Señora Santana, ¿por qué llora el niño?

Por una manzana que se la ha perdido.

Que no llore por una, yo le daré dos

una para el niño y otra para Dios. (x2)

La calaca tiene un diente, tiene un diente.

Topogigio tiene dos.

Si nos dan nuestro aguinaldo, aguinaldo

se lo pagara el señor. (x2)

If the kids receive their money they sing:

Ya se va la rama muy agradecida

porque en esta casa fue bien recibida

Pasen buenas noches, así les deseamos

pasen buenas noches, nosotros nos vamos.

But if the kids receive nothing, then…

Ya se va la rama muy desconsolada

porque en esta casa no le dieron nada.

Pasen buenas noches, así les deseamos

pasen buenas noches, nosotros nos vamos.


By Jorge Andrés Barrera Rojas for TYT

With an International Trade degree from the Autonomous University of Yucatan, Jorge is currently an Editor for The Yucatan Times, Business Adviser and Chinese language and culture student. He also speaks Spanish, English and French.

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