By Lluís Lozano
Mexico City, Dec 16 (EFE).- Traditional Mexican Christmas parties, known as posadas, begin on Friday for the first time without restrictions since the start of the coronavirus pandemic but the festivities are set to feel restrained for a population feeling the pinch of inflation.
During Christmas at the Jamaica Market, in the center of the Mexican capital, piñatas of various colors fill the aisles that normally flog flowers and plants.
Some buyers and sellers told Efe that despite their intention to resume the traditional parties without health restrictions, the general rise in prices will force them to limit their purchases.
Maricela Rivera, a market customer, said she will celebrate the holiday as normal, but with a smaller group of relatives.
“It is not like before when you could invite more people. You cannot take on so many expenses anymore, even if you want to,” she said.
Another customer of the market, Claudia Medina, who bought a piñata and a Christmas tree, said she was happy about celebrating the posadas again “with punch and good music.”
“We want to celebrate in all the ways we are used to. We want to enjoy these dates and share with our families,” he said.
CHANGES IN TRADITION
The traditional posadas, which arrived in Mexico after the Spanish conquest, are celebrated nine days before Christmas.
At the parties, guests are divided into two groups: one goes outside of the house, in a representation of the Virgin Mary and Joseph asking for lodging; while the other group, remains inside in a representation of the residents of Bethlehem.
Both groups sing Christmas carols during the ceremony.
Afterward comes the breaking of the piñata, and then dinner which consists of different traditional dishes and punch, a hot drink made with seasonal fruit such as sugar cane, apples, prunes, and guavas.
The sanitary restrictions in place for Covid-19 have been replaced by economic limitations for many families. In November, Mexico’s inflation rate reached 7.8%
According to some of the sellers at Jamaica Market, even though plenty of people are showing up at their stands, they do not buy as much as before.
“There are more people, but inflation has raised prices too much,” said Martín Pérez, owner of a stand selling Christmas pines.
He said that some families, unable to buy a tree of their own, purchased one to share with their neighbors in the building down the block.
“Everyone wants to have a pine tree at home, even if it is cheap and small. The pandemic generated another vision for people to celebrate these dates more. But there is no money,” Pérez said.
Norma Lara Moreno, another market vendor, said she raised the price of her piñatas by about 30%, which now costs up to 600 pesos (roughly $30). EFE