Las Posadas - A Christmas Tradition

During the Christmas season, Mexican neighborhoods are filled with lights, color, and music. It's common to see groups of people, children and adults, singing a Christmas carol in the streets. They appear at the door of a home, singing a song that asks for accommodation, just as María and José did. It is a very old Mexican Christmas tradition that is celebrated not only here, but also in Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador, and Panama. Posadas begin on December 16th and end on December 24th. These nine days symbolize Virgin Mary's nine months of her pregnancy. Today, we will talk about what you need to know about posadas and what happens during one!

What are Las Posadas and how do they celebrate them in Mexico?

Piñata time during posada


This is a popular Christmas tradition that is similar to a birthday party because there is food, dancing, games, songs, and even a piñata! Traditionally, each of these days is dedicated to a value: generosity, humility, charity, strength, detachment, purity, justice, joy and trust. It is said that this celebration replaces a much older one that the Aztecs celebrated during the winter solstice in honor of the god Huitzilopochtli, the god of war. In pre-Hispanic Mexico these celebrations lasted 20 days and were held from December 6. It was called 'the raising of flags', because they decorated the main temple with banners and hung flags from the fruit trees. After the Spanish arrived in Mexico, the religion evangelized the people and used the festivity to publicize the Christian tradition of Christmas. Hence, Las Posadas evolved from a mixture of European and pre-Hispanic customs.

Today, people in Mexico and Central America celebrate this tradition by decorating their homes and inviting relatives and neighbors to celebrate Mary and Joseph's journey to Bethlehem before Jesus was born. By interpreting the Virgin Mary and Saint Joseph's arrival in Bethlehem and their search for accommodation in an inn, and finding accommodation in a humble manger, the traditional mass was transferred to people's homes.


What you'll need to have your own Posada!

What you need for your posada!

It is worthwhile reviving the tradition of the classic inn as they do in some neighborhoods or housing complexes, where everyone collaborates and takes responsibility for certain aspects of preparation to make the occasion memorable. To accomplish this, we present what is necessary to organize a traditional Posada:

- Pilgrims
- Litany book/sheets
- Candles
- Sweets
- Paper or palm baskets
- Piñata
- Rope for Piñata
- Fruits or related: peanuts, tangerines, limes, cane, etc.
- Sparklers
- Confetti
- Whistles


Don't forget this! Posadas are not complete without traditional food and drinks like atole, ponche, buñuelos and delicious tamales.

Now for the celebration! 

pidiendo posada

Here is an example of what a traditional Posada looks like, you can always make changes and personalize it.

The house is decorated with lanterns (and sometimes with tablecloths) made of chopped paper.

For the procession, the guests must form a line and sing the paragraphs of the litany, in front of them must go the Pilgrims.

Subsequently, the assistants are divided into two groups: the first will ask for a posada outside the house and the second will be placed inside it to respond to the songs and give a posada.

At the end of the act (which also includes a Rosary), the snack will be distributed in paper baskets, in addition to sparklers and whistles.

The most awaited moment of the inn arrives: the breaking of the piñata!
Once the piñata has been broken, a serving of fruit is handed out to each guest.

Finally, the party will end with a glass of ponche or atole to counteract the cold; these will be the ideal complement to tamales and homemade buñuelos

Did we miss any other detail? Share it with us!

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