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5 HOLIDAY ICONS FROM MEXICO

5 HOLIDAY ICONS FROM MEXICO
Winter is the season we associate with snow, family, sweets, and celebration. We’re all bundled up in scarves and sweaters, starting up the fire pits, and spending time indoors. 
So where does Mexico fit into all of this? Surely Mexico’s tropical landscape is the last place you’d find some truly iconic winter traditions. 
But then we wouldn’t have a list here, would we! Let’s go ahead and delve into some of Mexico’s biggest contributions to the holiday season starting with…

 

POINSETTIAS

  Bright red, cheerful, and the flower of the holidays. “Poinsettia” in the English-speaking world was named after Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first US ambassador in Mexico who first brought the plant to the US. Mexicans know it as the Nochebuena, but its history extends far before it became a holiday icon. The bright tropical plant was grown in gardens by the pre-hispanic Mexica (or “Aztecs”) and was used to cure fevers and make dyes. The original name “Cuetlaxochitl” (kwet-la-so-sheet) in Nahuatl meant ”Blood Flower” and represented “Rebirth”, thus making it the perfect fit for Christmas. 

 

CHAMPURRADO

 If the words “Mexico” and “winter” are in a sentence, chances are “champurrado” is somewhere nearby. Champurrado is the quintessential drink of the holidays in Mexico. The warm, chocolatey taste is reminiscent of hot cocoa and the masa in the drink gives it the body almost like cake batter. It’s no question why we love champurrado so much, the scientific name for cocoa, Theobroma, literally means “food of the gods”. The drink was once revered as a sacred offering for the gods.

 

HOT CHOCOLATE 

 From the nahuatl word "xocolatl", chocolate was originally a hot, bitter drink often mixed with chili and cornmeal – not unlike the champurrado still enjoyed today. The one key difference being the Spanish import of sugar. Once Europeans began to mix sugar and the chocolate beverage of Mexico, the modern hot chocolate was created. Shop authentic Mexican Hot Chocolate!

 

VANILLA

 Warm, fragrant, and one of the world’s favorite favors, vanilla reigns during the holidays. We can thank the Totonacas of modern-day Veracruz, Mexico for first cultivating the vanilla beans. Once the Aztec empire took hold of vanilla production, it set the stage for vanilla to become a worldwide phenomenon. Nowadays, we can sit back and enjoy a dash of vanilla in our coffees and hot cocoas by the fire. 

 

MOLINILLO

  There is no hot chocolate, champurrado, or atole without the molinillo. Variations of molinillos have existed for thousands of years, from palm fronds to the highly decorative ones we see today! The modern molinillos was invented in the 1700s specifically to mix and froth chocolate in the same way we use a blender today. Fortunately, you can still find molinillos in your local Mexican shops and some of you might already have one! There’s nothing quite like a chocolate mexicano frothed by molinillo. Shop our Molinillo sets!

 

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