Christmas in Mexico: Posadas, pastores, and novenas
Many families assemble their Nativity scenes on December 16. This date coincides with a number of other Christmas customs. It marks the beginning of the nine-night Christmas novena, a series of prayer services in preparation for Christmas. These services are called misas de aguinaldo, which means "Christmas gift masses” (see also Misa de Gallo). Las Posadas, a reenactment of Joseph and Mary’s journey to Bethlehem and search for shelter, also begins on December 16. Performances of Los Pastores, a humorous folk play recounting the story of the shepherds’ journey to Bethlehem, begin in the latter part of December as well.