Mexican Christmas tradition, las posadas literally
translates in English as "the inns" or "the
The holiday season symbolizes the Biblical journey of Mary
and Joseph as they searched for shelter in Bethlehem before
the birth of Jesus.
celebration lasts from December 16 to Christmas Eve (Noche
Buena or "Holy Night".)
ritual also includes a lively and colorful pageant of kids (the
"pilgrims" or peregrinos)
- costumed as Joseph, Mary, angels, shepherds and the Three
All travel from house to house until they reach
a designated home where Las Posadas will be celebrated that
year. Upon arrival,
the hosts or "innkeepers" meet the procession at
the door to begin the holiday fiesta with an exchange of lyrics
from the traditional Pidiendo
the name of heaven,
I ask you for shelter
because my beloved wife
can continue no longer.
is no inn,
continue on your way.
I am not about to open.
You may be a scoundrel.
song goes on for several stanzas until Joseph and Mary are
finally recognized and allowed inside with everyone singing
us sing with joy,
all bearing in mind
that Jesus, Joseph and Mary
honor us by having come.
Soon, everyone begins celebrating with traditional songs & prayers - just before an explosion of merrymaking that includes Christmas party music, piñata bashing, sweet treats and fireworks!
On Christmas eve, Las Posados culminates in all-out feasting at the Cena de Noche Buena when families gather for a traditional meal of romeritos (baked shrimp), bacalao (dried cod fish), roast
turkey, Christmas salad, and mounds of sweet and sugary buñuelos.
Especially in northern Mexico - and in Mexican communities in Texas, New Mexico, California and Arizona - the festivities may include a Christmas tree, lots of presents,
or even a visit by Santa. However, Three Kings Day or Epiphany on January 6 remains a traditional day for gift exchanges in Central and Southern Mexico and throughout Latin America.
Las Posadas Around the World
the Philippines, the posadas tradition begins on December
15 with a Misa de Gallo (midnight mass) every night for nine
consecutive nights prior to Christmas eve.
Rican Christmas celebrations usually begin December 10
- and last until the Epiphany (Día de los Reyes Magos)
on January 6 - with impromptu Parranda (parties) hosted at
different locations each night for generous helpings of Christmas
delicious variation of egg nog) and festive platters of pasteles
(savory meat pastries).
Gritería (The Shoutings), occurs on December 7
when friends and family parade in the streets to sing in praise
of the Virgin Mary before visiting neighbors to share festive
food, drink and gift exchanges.