Today Las Posadas begins! Las Posadas is a nine-day festival celebrated in Mexico, countries in Latin America, and other Hispanic communities. It begins on December 16th and ends on December 24th. In English, “posadas” translates to “inns” or “lodging.”
Las Posadas remembers the journey of Mary, the mother of Jesus, and her husband, Joseph. According to the Christian faith, the two traveled from Nazareth to Bethlehem to seek shelter and find a safe place for Mary to give birth to Jesus.
However, Mary and Joseph were turned away from all the inns they came to. Finally, one innkeeper allowed them to take shelter in his stable. Christians believe this is where Jesus was born.
The Las Posadas celebration stretches back to 1586. That year, in Mexico City, there were special Catholic masses held each night for nine days before Christmas. Since then, the festival has evolved.
In many ways, the festival reenacts the story of Mary and Joseph. Each night, children dress up as angels. They then march through town, leading their families and others. At each home, they sing Christmas carols and ask for lodging.
Traditionally, each home turns them away. However, the residents often provide refreshments. Many offer the group a drink called ponche, which is a fruit punch made with sugar, cinnamon, and fruits like guavas and oranges.
Eventually, a final home allows the group to enter. There, a celebration follows. This often includes a feast, fireworks, and even a piñata. The observers also take part in mass.
All in all, Las Posadas is a chance for people to gather and think about the meaning behind the Christmas holiday with their family and loved ones.
Happy Las Posadas!