Read full article in Spanish here.

Perhaps you do not know the fact that Quetzalcóatl, main deity of the pre-Hispanic civilization, almost stole Christmas from Santa Claus in Mexico around the 20th century.

At that time, any important decision had to go through the man in the presidential chair, in this case Pascual Ortiz Rubio. Nobody knew if it was his idea, but Santa Claus was condemned to disappear due to the president´s desire to retake the indigenous roots in the Christmas celebration. Where the main purpose was to instill in the children´s hearts a love for the symbols, divinities and traditions of the Mexican culture.

In 1939, the newspaper EL UNIVERSAL posted an article with the following title: “Quetzalcóatl will be the Christmas symbol”. It did not take too long to cause controversy among the citizens. Some of them began to question things like “Are we going to pray to Quetzacoatl? or, Shall we pray in Nahuatl?”.


An essay by Ismael Vidales (a pedagogical author), explained that there were arguments against Quetzalcóatl due to its image. Later it was announced that it would not be represented as a snake, in fact the image was similar to Santa Claus and even to one of the Three Wise Men.

However, no matter what campaign was used, the society did not feel attached to the indigenous traditions. As a last effort to consolidate the image of Quetzalcóatl as Santa, the government organized an event on December 23 at the National Stadium, where it was set a pyramid and there were some dancers performing a ritual in honor of the God. Accompanied by the Three Wise Men and the president’s wife, toys were delivered to more than 10,000 children who attended the event.

In spite of the effort that was made, Quetzalcóatl took the historical place that belonged to him in the society.