TUESDAY, DECEMBER 16: The lively nights known as Las Posadas begin in Mexico, Guatemala and parts of the United States, bringing tasty dishes, cheerful carols and unified communities. A nine-night celebration originally from Spain, Posadas Navidenas begins December 16 and ends on December 24. Posada, Spanish for “lodging,” or “accommodation,” reenacts Mary and Joseph’s search for a safe, warm place to welcome the infant Jesus. Las Posadas has been a tradition throughout Mexico for 400 years.
Each night of Posadas Navidenas, a small, candlelit procession travels through a neighborhood. The procession stops at designated houses and asks permission to stay, but as is prearranged, the homeowners turn the visitors away. Finally, a host family for the evening (or, in some regions, a church) welcomes the visitors inside, and everyone kneels before a Nativity scene to pray. (Wikipedia has details.) After prayer, traditional tamales and ponche navideno are typically served with rompope, a drink similar to eggnog. Children may take turns hitting a five- or seven-pointed pinata, and the pinata is often filled with dried fruit, sugar sticks, nuts and candies.
THE LAS POSADAS PROCESSION
As processions slowly move down the streets each night of Las Posadas, additional members join the children. In most processions, select children dress as Mary, Joseph, shepherds and angels—or, the children carry images of these holy figures. Musicians sometimes follow the group, which sings at each doorstep while beckoning for a place to stay.
Las Posadas processions are gaining popularity in the Southwest United States, but the reenactments can be organized in any community.
- To learn the Las Posadas songs, visit The Other Side of the Tortilla.
- For recipes for tamales, rompope and more, check out an article from the Washington Post, this Pinterest page and Lowes.com.
- As a learning resource, NBC News suggests Posadas Navidenas as one of five Latino holiday traditions to share with children.
Did you know? The popular rompope drink is believed to have been created by nuns in the convent of Santa Clara, in Puebla.