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A Christmas Tradition: Las Posadas

A Christmas Tradition: Las Posadas

Para la versión en español, haga clic aquí

One way that people in Latin America anticipate celebrating Jesus’ coming at Christmas is by celebrating Posadas. But what is a Posada?

Posadas are popular celebrations that take place during Advent in Mexico and Guatemala. Some other countries like Colombia and Venezuela have similar festivities called Novenas. In 1587, Saint Diego de Soria started a novena of Masses in Mexico prior to Christmas Day—from December 16 to 24—to remember Joseph and Mary’s journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem. This tradition has evolved through the years and now includes other elements like carols, piñatas, Nativity plays called pastorelas, and fireworks.

Posadas begin with a procession from a church or through several homes in a neighborhood. People bring an image of Joseph and Mary from house to house as they sing a traditional song that recalls the difficult journey they endured on their way to Bethlehem. In fact, the word Posada means “inn or lodge.” My family has a tradition of the grandkids dressing up as Joseph, Mary, angels, and shepherds, so they can participate more actively in this celebration. Sometimes we even bring a real donkey! The participants hold candles as they walk while praying the Holy Rosary. When they arrive at the home that will host that night’s Posada, they break a piñata that’s in the form of a star with seven points, representing the Seven Capital Sins. Finally, children get fruit and candy, and everyone shares a nice dinner.

LET’S PRAY: May the Lord gives us the ability to joyfully anticipate the celebration of Jesus’ birth like Mary and Joseph did. May we not be brought down by the obstacles that are in our way. Amen.

Image credit: Sean SPRAGUE/CIRIC

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