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Christmas in Mexico–Romeritos

Romeritos

Romeritos

Christmas in Mexico

Christmas is beautiful anywhere–and in Mexico it is celebrated with an unusual and delicious meal.


Wednesday, December 21, 2006

Christmas and palm trees took me some getting used to.  I grew up in Central New York, where they average 110 inches of snow a year.  Christmas in Mexico can be beautiful, though, even without the winter weather.

Mexican families need no excuse to get together for a big meal and conversation, and that goes double on Christmas.  Omar’s mother makes romeritos, which according to www.recipetips.com is a “Mexican herb that resembles rosemary.  It is used as a seasoning and has a strong flavor that goes well with fish, chicken, and beef, there is also a traditional Mexican dish called romeritos, which generally consists of potatoes, dried shrimp, and romeritos, which are all cooked in a mole sauce.  The mole sauce, which provides a rich and spice flavor to the dish, consists of ingredients such as chile peppers, onions, garlic, chocolate, oil, sugar, nuts, and toasted bread or crackers.”   She makes tortas de camaron, shrimp croquettes, which swim languidly in the mole sauce.  It is an unusual dish—you don’t often think of shrimp, chocolate, and rosemary together–and it’s just delicious.

Omar and his mom preparing romeritos

Omar and his mom preparing romeritos

Christmas trees are becoming more popular (like with Halloween, many Christmas customs are percolating down from the United States to be adopted by Mexicans).  Many families put up an artificial tree, and real, cut trees are available in front of Walmart.  They are very expensive by Mexican standards though (around $50) and because they are shipped from Canada before Thanksgiving and aren’t given any water, by Christmas the trees are dried right out.  They smell great, though.

Decorative lights on the house are very popular, and motorized, moving displays of reindeer can be seen on many roofs.

Most Mexican families exchange small gifts among themselves, but there is rarely a huge US-style avalanche of presents.  Gifts will more likely be homemade, or food, and are optional—being together is the important part.

Last year Omar’s family rented a cabin in Mazamitla, a tiny mountain town three hours south of Guadalajara, and we all met there for Christmas.  We walked through the forests, visited with relatives from Morelia, and ate non-stop.

Our winter in Guadalajara can be quite chilly—we go down below freezing every year.  We are at the same longitude as Hawaii, but a mile high, so we get some cold nights.  It snowed for several hours one day a while back—the first time in 122 years!–and has gone down at night to 23 F since I’ve lived there.  Generally winter days are clear and go up to 70 F or so.  We often have a couple of weeks in January with lots of clouds, and that’s when we get cold.  We have no heat in the house, of course, so if it is cloudy and we don’t warm up during the day for several days, the cold gets in our thick, cement walls and the house may go down to 45 or 50 degrees.  We wear our winter coats in the house, down in the tropics.  Mexico is always surprising.

Mexico City, and a mile and a half altitude, gets more cold winter weather than Guadalajara, and the high mountains to the east and south of town are often covered with snow (take a look at the volcano Popocatepetl from our links on this page).

One of the nicest Christmas customs is the posada, where singing neighbors go from house to house, asking if there is room at the inn.  They are given hot chocolate or atole, a fruit or milk drink thickened with tortilla dough.

Day of the Dead is much more typically Mexican, and Easter is a bigger holiday, but Christmas in Mexico is a special, pleasant time to be with family and friends.

Dan and Omar

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A sample text widget

Etiam pulvinar consectetur dolor sed malesuada. Ut convallis euismod dolor nec pretium. Nunc ut tristique massa.

Nam sodales mi vitae dolor ullamcorper et vulputate enim accumsan. Morbi orci magna, tincidunt vitae molestie nec, molestie at mi. Nulla nulla lorem, suscipit in posuere in, interdum non magna.