Traditional Christmas Eve Dinner in Yucatán

Culinary traditions related to Christmas Eve vary throughout the geography of Yucatan, where turkey, although predominant, is not the only option for the Yucatecans.

So get ready for a traditional Christmas Eve Yuca-dinner!

Geographic location affects the menu during the holiday season throughout the Yucatan. Although on Christmas Eve it is turkey which reigns by custom at the tables all over the State, there are other dishes that are traditionally cooked on these dates according to the region of our state.

Yucatecan Turkey

Thus, it is not strange that piglet and roast pork (Lechón y Cochinita) are an essential part of the dinner for inhabitants of the South of the state; ceviche, tikin-xic and Andalusian sting ray, are consumed in the coastal towns, while black filling (Relleno Negro), pickled sandwiches and tamales, are preferred in the East part of the Yucatán.

Relleno Negro (Photo:

In Tizimín, the Syrian-Lebanese migration of the late 19th century left its mark on the culinary traditions of the municipality, where guests invited to the Christmas Eve dinner are delighted with Arabian snacks, such as baked, raw and fried kibi, which are accompanied by different sauces.

“People really like eggplant cream, chickpea, labne (Arabic cheese), which is served with olive oil and oregano powder,” says Luis Pérez Salazar, a historian from Tizimín, who adds that it is also common to serve lentil rice.

Lentil Soup (Google)

As we mentioned before, among the inhabitants of the central part of the state, turkey is the main dish of the Christmas dinner, in preparations such as almond, wine, Galantina and stuffing. Also, delicatessen style meats, sandwichón and salad are consumed.

However, “in many parts of the state, and in most rural communities, there are people who preserve old customs and cook “Relleno Negro” for this special night and “Recalentado” the next day,” he explains.

“Marinated sandwiches and tamales are also abundant during the Christmas Eve dinner across the state, not baked or in pib, but with ground beef and jalapeño pepper,” explained Perez Salazar.

Vaporcitos (Photo: archive)

Other varieties of tamales are those of three k’oles, which are steamed with chicken or pork and to which k’oles of different flavors are added, and, for children, vaporcitos (ticuleños) served with beans and k’ol .

Hot chocolate is also a custom for Christmas Eve dinner in the Yucatan.

Mexican hot chocolate

Pérez Salazar adds that, “when you cook enough for Christmas Eve, people always save some for the “Recalentado” (reheated), the next day; but many people prefer to eat something else on the 25th. ” Barbacoa de chivo in different presentations is sold in stalls on the streets on Christmas Day all over the Yucatan”.

“And when it comes to desserts for the Christmas Eve dinner, Tizimileños include, in addition to cakes, pays and the traditional apple salad, grapes and milk cream, the apple strudel and the peanut, banana, carrot with banana and carrot with pumpkin. There is also one very famous here: Cuban bread, which is cut in very thin slices” and enjoyed with coffee, milk or chocolate”, historian Luis Perez Salazar concluded.

The Yucatan Times Newsroom