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Posadas

Christmas

Posadas

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Posadas is a nine-day holiday beginning December 16 and ending December 24 ("Noche Buena" (Holy Night)).

Contents

Meaning

It represents the difficulties that Saint Joseph and the Blessed Virgin faced in finding room when travelling to Bethlehem. In it, groups of children (or sometimes adults) go from house to house singing a traditional song requesting lodging (posada). In each house, the owner responds with refusal (also in song), until they reach the designated site for the party, where the owner recognizes Mary and Joseph and allows them to come in. Latin American countries have a celebration party related to these days.

Ritual

These Posadas are a re-enactment of the search by Jesus' parents, Joseph and Mary for lodging prior to Jesus' birth. Typically, each family in a neighborhood will schedule a night for the Posada to be held at their home, starting on the 16th of December and finishing on the 24th.

Every home will have a Nativity scene, and the hosts of the Posada act as the innkeepers. The neighborhood children and adults are the "pilgrims" (Peregrinos), who have to request lodging by singing a traditional song about the pilgrims. All the "pilgrims" carry small lit candles in their hands, and four of the children carry small statues of Joseph leading a donkey, on which Mary is riding. The head of the procession will have a candle inside a paper lamp shade, or "Farolito" (little lantern).

The "Pilgrims" will symbolically ask for lodging at three different houses, but only the third one will allow them in. That will be the house where the Posada will be held for that evening. Once the "innkeepers" let them in, the group of guests comes into the home and kneels around the Nativity scene to pray (typically, the Rosary). This is followed by the singing of traditional Christmas songs and a party for the children, including a piņata.

Traditionally, it is expected to meet all the invitees in a previous procession.

Mexico

In particular, in Mexico the tradition consists in a group of hosts (may be one family of one home or may be a number of families in the neighborhood) that prepare a typical dinner to "host" the rest of the neighbors (usually a block or section of the neighborhood). Each one of the nine days a different family (or group of families) offer to be the hosts, so that the whole neighborhood or section participates during the nine days.


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Christmas Guide, v. 2.0, by MultiMedia

This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.


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