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The Year Quetzalcoatl Replaced Santa Claus

In 1930, Mexico replaced Santa Claus, which was seen as an invasive American cultural influence and a remnant of the Porfiriato, with Quetzalcoatl.

This symbolic act was a signal that Mexico was distancing itself from its northern neighbor and initiating a more nationalistic stance with regard to American culture.

Mexico’s Secretary of Education launched a special campaign to educate schoolchildren on Quetzalcoatl, advertisers even used images of the deity to sell Christmas gifts, and on December 23, 1930, the government constructed a replica of a temple in the middle of the national stadium for a huge holiday event.

Mexico was living through a post-revolution renaissance and whether the government was attempting to co-opt the nationalistic fervor of the time is unclear. What is clear is that 1930 was one and only year Quetzalcoatl officially replaced Santa Claus in Mexico.

Although it didn’t last, Quetzalcoatl replacing Santa Claus remains an interesting and little known part of Mexican history.

Image credit: El Universal

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