Las Posadas - Christmas Celebrations in Mexico
by Wendy Navarrete, age 13
Lodging -"Posadas" in Spanish - are some of the most popular festivals that are celebrated during December in Mexico. They are done to remember the pilgrimage by Joseph and Mary who were looking for a place to stay in Bethlehem.
The Lodgings start from the 16th of December until the night of the 24th. The people of the neighborhood celebrate this by going to different houses each night. A procession is formed by two people who carry the statues of Mary, Joseph, and an angel. They are also accompanied by a donkey. People carry candles, sing litanies (prayers), stand by the door of a house and ask for lodging.
Those people who are already inside, sing songs denying their entry until they see that it is Joseph and Mary asking for lodging.
Towards the end of the celebration, the doors are opened and the people who were standing outside are let in. Here is where the fun begins. Punch is made from hot fruits; food and some goodies are served to everyone.
Finally, the kids get to break a piñata. Each is given a turn to try to hit the piñata. Their eyes are covered with a bandana, they are given a stick and turned around several times. Those standing by try to tell the boy or girl where the piñata exactly is, since it is hanging from a rope and being pulled by an adult. When the pinata is broken, candy and fruit fall out and everyone dashes to get some. This is the best part of Las Posadas!
Wendy attends the Immaculate Conception School where she is in the 8th grade. She lives in New York City with her parents who own and operate a Mexican restaurant.
illustration by Felipe Galindo
- originally published in the Holiday 1993 issue of ZuZu