Christmas in Mexico
by Judie Haynes
This holiday season promote peace and appreciation for the diverse cultures in your school by taking advantage of the natural resource that is in your classroom. Begin with this lesson on Christmas in Mexico. Do you want to increase the self-esteen of your English language learners? Winter holidays provide the perfect opportunity to explore other cultures.
Help American children learn to respect the cultures of other people and, at the same time,develop pride in their heritage among children from diverse backgrounds.
Many of the second language speakers in our schools come from Spanish-speaking countries. Help all the students in your class develop appreciation of Mexican culture through this lesson on Christmas in Mexico.
To identify how Christmas holidays are celebrated in Mexico; to compare Mexican holidays with U.S. holidays; to learn Mexican customs.
la posada (inn); candle; Christmas Eve flower (poinsettia); pinata
Pictures of pinatas or a real pinata, a poinsettia, Fiesta music from Mexico; Venn Diagram
1. Have students discuss one of their own holiday customs and share it with their class or ESL group.
2. Point out Mexico on the map and ask questions about the location of Mexico such as “What continent is Mexico on ? Is is north or south of the U.S.? What language do people speak there?”
3. Explain that most Mexicans are Catholic and celebrate Christmas. In Mexico Christmas holidays start on December 16th and last 9 nights. Each night families act out the journey that Mary and Joseph made to Bethlehem. They knock at doors asking for shelter.
4. Have students look at information about Christmas on Mexico on the internet. See Mexico Connect. Brainstorm a list of the sequence of events for the Mexican celebration with students.
Families gather together. They march around the house singing a special prayer and carrying candles. They pretend they are Mary and Joseph looking for a room in an inn. This procession is called the “posada.” Introduce the pinata to your students. Explain that pinatas come from Mexico and are made of papier-mache. If you can not get a real pinata, have students make one. Directions for this are at Elisa Kleven’s website. Families go to midnight church services on Christmas Eve. They then have a big celebration which lasts all night.
On January 5th the children put out their shoes for a visit from the Three Wise Men who leave gifts. Discuss the legend of the poinsettia. Have students color the poinsettia and explain how it got its name. Find information at Nochebuena – Poinsettia. Try our PDF download Poinsettia Plant.
5. To find a list of how to say "Merry Christmas in different languages try Santa.net.
6. To have students compare their holiday celebrations with Christmas in Mexico, download PDF Christmas in Mexico Venn Diagram.
The diversity in many classrooms provides a starting point for children to begin to understand and value the many distinct cultures of the world. What better way to do that than to feature a winter unit on light festivals from around the world. Teach your students about the cultural traditions in France, Sweden, Thailand, Philippines, India, Egypt, Holland, and Mexico. More light festivals will be added so keep checking back.