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Wednesday, May 25, 2022

What to find in a Yucatecan Christmas market

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Veronica Garibayhttp://yucatanmagazine.com
Verónica Garibay Saldaña is a Mexican columnist, communications major, and poetry enthusiast. Sign up for the Yucatán Roundup, a free newsletter, which delivers the week's top headlines every Monday.

When thinking of decor, it is always nice to look at our local options. Holidays are no exception. 

Whether you’re looking for a small natural tree or the music-and-light extension to decorate it, step into the Riqueza Local market.

Bells and Christmas wreaths are abundant throughout the market, but one can find more day-to-day items such as flower pots, vases, and dried plants. Photo: Verónica Garibay

Located right in front of the Centro Universitario Montejo high school, the park hosts slow-food vendors on the weekends and maintains a crafts and décor market all throughout the week.

Greenery — Natural trees and nochebuenas

There are two types of natural Christmas trees sold at the market. The Tulia and Cedrella species are available in medium-sized specimens.

These small trees are often sold for people to plant directly on their yards, as they are much more resilient than species brought in from colder climates. Photo: Verónica Garibay
Close-up of the Cedella tree’s texture. This species closely resembles larger trees often sold during the season but has a higher resistance to warm weather. Photo: Verónica Garibay

Choosing one of these species for the wintertime gives your tree better chances of surviving through the season. Many of them are planted in backyards and sidewalks and often tolerate the hottest months of the year.

If you’re already covered tree-wise but are still interested in bright, holiday greenery, look into Nochebuenas.

A good locally sourced tip is buying nochebuenas from local producers, as these varieties have a much higher opportunity to adapt to Yucatán’s weather. Photo: Verónica Garibay
A little-known fact: nochebuenas are native to México. Photo: Verónica Garibay

In addition to having a variety of sizes, pots and arrangements are available in the Riqueza Local market to present the flowers. Many of these flowers are sourced locally, in municipalities across the country.

Wooden reindeer are available in a variety of presentations throughout the market, some as flower pots. Photo: Verónica Garibay

Reindeer are some of the more popular decorations present in these markets. At Riqueza Local, you can find selections in greenery and wood of all kinds.

If you’re interested in animal-shaped topiary, you can find holiday-related options in the market. Photo: Verónica Garibay
Branches are used throughout in decoration available at the market, as seen in these reindeer and “frozen” trees. Photo: Verónica Garibay

Ornaments — bells and hanging baskets

In terms of ornaments, the selection is wide and varied. The iconic golden bells are present in different presentations throughout the market.

Bells are another weaved product created by local artisans. Photo: Verónica Garibay
In ancient times they were said to be used to ward off evil spirits. Photo: Verónica Garibay

In the center of the country, clay hangers are commonly sold during this time of the year. However, as the peninsula’s artisans often use textiles and tread for their craft, ornaments in Yucatán are usually fabricated with such materials.

Still, many of the motifs are inspired by more centralized Mexican traditions, such as the star piñatas.

Piñatas are commonly smashed at Mexican posadas. Photo: Verónica Garibay
A Yucatecan take on snowmen. Photo: Verónica Garibay

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Baskets are commonly sold all through the year, but the market offers Chrismas-themed options during the winter months. Photo: Verónica Garibay

Illumination and nativity scenes

The market’s setup makes sure you only have to take one trip in order to find everything you need for your holiday decor. There’s a wide selection of lights and electronics, many of which begin at around 400 pesos.

A large selection of electronics in the market. Photo: Verónica Garibay
Lights are displayed all over the main tent and come in all sizes, prices, and colors Photo: Verónica Garibay

Besides the tree and other Christmas-related ornaments, the nativity is a pretty classic choice in religious Mexican households.

Although many sets are passed down from one family to another, if you’re looking to start (or complete) your own set, you can find many different options within the market.

Nativity scenes are commonly found in Roman Catholic households. Photo: Verónica Garibay
Animals, plants, and religious figures are present. Photo: Verónica Garibay
The famous “niño Dios” is another commonly found figure in Catholic homes. Photo: Verónica Garibay

Visit the market on Parque Gonzalo Guerrero, by Carretera Mérida-Progreso.

In Yucatán Magazine: Nochebuenas: Mexico’s Christmas gift is a bright red plant

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