Nativity scenes and piñatas in Mexico City
Nativity scenes and piñatas are traditional in Mexico – Photo: Miranda Perea/EL UNIVERSAL in English

Nativity scenes and piñatas in Mexico City

Salvador Corona
Mexico City
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The exhibition Nativity Scenes and Piñatas 2019-2020 is located in Reforma Avenue

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On Monday, Mexico City’s Culture Ministry opened the exhibition of Nativity Scenes and Piñatas 2019-2020 in Reforma Avenue. It will be available until January 7, 2020, along with other cultural activities.


There are 20 nativity sets and 47 piñatas, pieces that are traditional in this Christmas season.

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“Mexico City is an important holiday destination,” as said by local Tourism Minister Carlos Mackinlay.


The exhibition is made up of pieces from exhibitors from different parts of Mexico City. The pieces are located from the Diana the Huntress Fountain to the Angel of the Independence monument.


In the framework of the exhibition, there will be different musical groups that will perform. For instance, on December 21 at 18:00, there music group “Artesanos del Son” will have a presentation in the Prague Roundabout. There will also be nativity plays and other shows until December 23.

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For its part, the Citizen Security Ministry, to safeguard the physical and patrimonial integrity of the participants and attendees to the event, will deploy 48 police officers, nine vehicles, and one helicopter that will promote security actions and will perform the necessary traffic interruptions.


Created between 1220 and 1226, nativity scenes became a trend that was adopted all over the world. In Mexico, this tradition was adopted during colonial times and was used to convert Indigenous people. At churches, friars represented the birth of Jesus to explain the gospel.

Between the 18th century and the 19th century, communities transformed the sacred family and they no longer looked European, instead, they now looked Mexican.
Moreover, there are at least five different nativity sets on sale in Mexico: the Italian, Spanish, Mexican, English, and elegant versions. The main differences are the clothes, facial features, skin color, and pose of Mary.

The nativity sets made in Mexico are mainly made from resin and clay. The resin figurines are made in Toluca and Puebla, while the clay ones are made in Tonalá and Zapopan.

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And while the location where Jesus was born is desertic, in Mexico people have adapted the tradition to their culture and often place moss or hay under the figurines yet this practice is illegal, as it has a negative effect on the ecosystem.

Moreover, Mexican nativity sets added waterfalls, cacti, plants and other figurines such as chickens, shepherds, farmers, cooks, children, and working women and men.

According to tradition, the nativity set must be placed under the Christmas tree on December 16th, when the first posada takes place and the Jesus figurine must not be placed in the crib until December 24th.

Did you know you can pick your own Christmas tree in Mexico City?


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