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Christmas Eve in Guadalajara

In cooperation with: Visit Mexico
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posts: 39
reviews: 23
Christmas Eve in Guadalajara

My family and I will be in GDL (Tlaquepaque) from Dec 24th to the 27th. I'd like to take the family out on Christmas eve. Normally we'd attend service, but probably not in GDL if for no other reason than we don't speak enough Spanish to follow a service and would feel out of place. Still, we're looking for something to do Christmas Eve to acknowledge the night and season. Any suggestions? Also will museums, markets, etc. be open the 26th/27th? More generally, any particular holiday suggestions for GDL? Thanks in advance.

Bourke, Australia
posts: 219
1. Re: Christmas Eve in Guadalajara

if you act normal, not like a "Gringo", treat the locals with respect, smile at them, you will have no worries. I am from Australia, can not speak a word of spanish, and have never been treated better, and I have lived in 6 different countries.

The Gingos don't want to know an outsider, the locals do.


posts: 39
reviews: 23
2. Re: Christmas Eve in Guadalajara

I must not have been clear in my post. I have no concerns about acting "normal" or like a "Gringo." I'm reasonably well traveled in SA and CA, speak some Spanish, and we know how to behave ourselves. My question centered on whether one can help us find a Christmas eve event that is religious in nature but does not involve attending services. Beyond that, I simply wanted to know if museums and markets are typically open Christmas week.

Guadalajara, Mexico
posts: 1,130
reviews: 2
3. Re: Christmas Eve in Guadalajara

Next to the Cathedral of Guadalajara have a religious services in English (If you are Catholic) but we also have most of other Christian denominations, and all they have service in English.

Also you may find in the main plaza a PASTORELA.

Mexican culture has many activities related with Christmas, such, posadas, pastorelas, concerts in the Cathedral. Sersol


Mexican culture has many

Guadalajara, Mexico
posts: 1,130
reviews: 2
4. Re: Christmas Eve in Guadalajara

I for got, try all the food of the season specially made for Christmas.


Rompope (drink)

Ponche (drink)




Chocolate con churros.

And many more


This is a transcription from MEXGROCER.

Since Mexico is a predominantly Catholic country, and proud of it, Christmas there revolves around the birth of Christ, or "El Niño Jesús." The festivities and traditions bear little resemblance to ours in the United States. Santa Claus and Christmas trees aren't a big deal-except perhaps in the larger cities. The focus is religious; the atmosphere joyous. It's one of the major fiestas of the year and just about everyone takes off the last two weeks of December-to spend time with their families, to visit old friends, to make new friends and to celebrate.

The Christmas season jumps into gear on December 16, with Las Posadas nine days in a row of candlelight processions and parties. After sunset each night, in villages, towns and cities throughout the country, children gather to reenact Joseph and Mary's journey to Bethlehem. The procession is led by a young Virgin Mary, often atop a live burro, with a tiny Joseph at her side. They're followed by children dressed as angels, The Three Kings or "Reyes Magos" and an assortment of shepherds and livestock. Singing traditional Christmas hymns and carrying candles, they proceed to the first designated house, where they plead to be admitted. They are turned away. They're refused admittance at the second home as well. At the third home, they are told that while there is no room for them in the inn, they are welcome to take shelter in the stable. At this point, the doors are thrown open and the children are bid a jubilant welcome. Everyone kneels around a manger scene, or "Nacimiento." Prayers and songs are offered in thanks to God.

Immediately after this in every Posada, is the time of the "Piñata or Pinata," a papier maché container filled with candy and toys. It's hung from a tree or from the ceiling, and one at a time, the children are blindfolded spun around and given turns to try smashing the Piñata open. When it breaks, goodies scatter to the ground and the kids dive in, scooping up as many as they can.

At midnight on Christmas Eve or "Noche Buena," the birth of Christ is proclaimed with fire works, the ringing of church bells and the blowing of whistles. After the final Posada procession, the people surge into the churches to attend the Mass of the Rooster or "Misa de Gallo." Afterward, families head home for an exotic Christmas feast of dishes like tamales, rice, chiles rellenos, menudo or roast pig or turkey, along with hot fruit or cider punches and other spirits such as rompope. They gather around their personal nativity scene, or "Nacimiento" a recreation of the stable where Jesus was born, complete with Mary, Joseph, the baby in the manger, angels, the Magi or "Los Reyes Magos, shepherds and their flocks and even perhaps a serpent representing the forces of evil lurking in the shadows. The nativity scene is constructed with loving care throughout the days preceding Christmas Eve, and is not completed until that night. It is here that each family pays homage, once again, to the miracle of Christ's birth. The evening ends with the opening of gifts, another Piñata and sparklers for the kids. Christmas Day is obviously a day of rest in Mexico-after the festivities that precede it.

While you may not be Catholic, Christian, or even religious, you may want to celebrate this Christmas Eve with a traditional Mexican Feast. If you do celebrate Christ's birth, you just may be interested in staging any of the festivities mentioned above. Improvise! Add bits and pieces (or even most or all) of the Mexican rituals into your own family festivities. And here is a wonderful, authentic meal you can make for Christmas Eve or Noche Buena:


Set up your Christmas table much as you would every year. If you do it formal with a lace table cloth and your best China-do that this year as well.

For our FIESTA DE NOCHE BUENA we'll be serving up Chimayo Cocktails and Steaming Hot Apple Cider. For the main meal, we'll make an easy-to-serve-yourself buffet of Chiles Rellenos, Menudo or Pozole, Beef Tamales, Chicken Tamales, Tamales de Dulce and Mexican Rice. We'll leave out dessert-it's bound to be late by the time everyone finishes opening presents and eating-especially if the kids have been sneaking candy canes off the tree or been taking whacks at a pinata!

posts: 39
reviews: 23
5. Re: Christmas Eve in Guadalajara


Thank you for the great advice. We will certainly enjoy the holiday foods...

6. Re: Christmas Eve in Guadalajara

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