Now that we are in the last month of the year and there is always one way or another of celebrating, I would like to comment on the traditions that are celebrated in my community Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca, Mexico .
As we already know, Mexico was conquered by the Spanish, and thus our festivities express the cultures of Mexico and Spain. I will say that the Spanish traditions have a stronger presence because they left us with the Catholic religion and so these days the the celebrations are more religious.
For us, the birth of Jesus is celebrated on the 24th of December but before this we celebrate “the inns.” The Inns begin the 15th of December, when the image of the mother of Jesus leaves the church and makes a daily pilgrimage to different family homes. Each family has their responsibility as hosts of the inn, such as inviting others over to celebrate with food, drinks and music. They decorate their homes with a Christmas tree, lights, piñatas and other adornments.
The guests assist by bringing flowers and candles as offerings, and everyone helps to make the the food. It is a task shared by everyone, men and women, to ensure that the Inn is a success. In the afternoon we dance the jarabe, which is traditional in our valley, and after that the children participate in breaking the piñata and collecting the candies and toys that fall.
The “inn” is celebrated daily with nine different families in town. On the 24th the image returns to the church where there is a mass and then everyone returns home to eat and pass the rest of the night with friends and family.