Mexican Christmas tradition, las posadas literally
translates in English as "the inns" or "the
It 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, known as Noche
Buena or "Holy Night",
ritual most especially includes a colorful pageant of kids (the
"pilgrims" or peregrinos)
-- costumed as Joseph, Mary, angels, shepherds and the Three
Wise Men. All travel to a designated home where Las Posadas will be celebrated. Upon arrival,
the hosts or "innkeepers" meet the procession at
the door for 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.
What follows is an explosion of merrymaking that includes Christmas party music, piñata bashing, sweet treats and fireworks!
On Christmas eve, Las Posadas 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, 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 on January 6 remains a traditional day for gift exchanges in Central and Southern Mexico and throughout Latin America.
Each year, the public is invited to join the La Posadas procession in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
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 Three Kings Day (Día de los Reyes Magos)
on January 6 - with impromptu Parranda (parties) hosted at
different locations. Each night holiday revelers can look forward to 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.