The culture of a country is recognized by the lifestyle as well as the way they preserve their traditions. Many of these customs are passed down from parents to children, generation after generation. Mi Padrino wants to help preserve these traditions so our children and their children fill with pride learning about our beautiful customs and knowing where they came from! One of these practices that everyone around Mexico keeps dear to their heart are Las Posadas!
What are Posadas?
Christmas is celebrated in many different ways throughout the world but the message remains the same! One of the most beautiful traditions that Hispanics have during the holiday season are Las Posadas! This tradition of Mexican origin, now extended to the countries of Latin America and very celebrated in the United States, takes place during 9 consecutive days from December 16 until Christmas Eve. It is representative of the pilgrimage of the Virgin Mary and her husband Joseph, before giving birth to their son, Jesus.
Who are Posadas for?
Although the Posadas are run by adults, the celebration is mainly for children! It’s a fun and special way of teaching them about Virgin Mary and Joseph’s pilgrimage. Posadas are intended for young children who impatiently endure between prayers and songs until the rosary for the Virgin Mary ends. After the prayers, the children make a long line to receive aguinaldos from the Padrinos of El Niño Dios. These are typically bags filled with candy, peanuts and seasonal fruits! They receive them before going to the dinner table where they eat a yummy dish prepared by the host! After dinner, they wait anxiously to break the traditional Piñata to the song of “Dale Dale Dale, no pierdas el tino” and reveal the delicious treats that both children and adults LOVE. The children, who with flares, candles and colored papers, will go from house to house in front of the procession asking for a Posada for 9 days.
How do you make a Posada?
Las Posadas are for everyone! The guests are typically members of the town such as neighbors, friends, relatives and even strangers! To run a Posada, two people are needed to play the role of Joseph and Mary. The community would then meet in a public place where they will begin the pilgrimage. Guided by the peregrinos and singing spanish Christmas carols, they arrive at the place where they will ask for a Posada. Once there, they are divided into two groups; one enters the house and the other stays outside accompanying Joseph and Mary to ask for Posada by singing the traditional song.
Check out the traditional song asking for Posada!
Although the elements alluding to those days may vary depending on the region of Mexico (or country), something that can not be missed in a Posada is “El Nacimiento”. The Nativity represents the manger where Jesus was finally born, adorned with figures such as El Niño Dios, the Virgin Mary and Joseph. It is also adorned with other figures such as cattle, goats, sheep, and colored lights. It also includes human figures that represent the shepherds who witnessed the birth. The way El Nacimiento is portrayed can vary from a simple Nativity underneath a tree to a more elaborate life-size display.
It’s important to share all of our traditions and customs with our family and friends! The perfect way to do this is through food! Usually, during a Posada, the hosts prepare a dinner where all the guest are expected to attend. There are numerous options to serve at your Posada but the host will usually go the traditional route! There are many ways to make these dishes depending on where you live, but they all have something in common: THEY ARE DELICIOUS!
Below is a list of traditional foods that are typically seen at a Posada!
- Tamales (everyone’s favorite!)
- Pozole (hominy stew)
- Flautas (deep fried, rolled tacos)
- Enchiladas (so yummy!)
These meals should also be accompanied by traditional drinks like:
- Ponche de tamarindo (tamarind punch),
- Café de olla (coffee made in a stove-pot)
- Atole (masa based beverage)
- Champurrado (chocolate-based atole)
Las Posadas are undoubtedly the strong bond that keeps families together and keeps the culture and folklore alive of a whole country! In Mexico, this tradition dates back from the time of the conquest. Although over the years the way of doing things has been changing, the elements have been and always will be a part of beautiful tradition that links all of us together!
Do you celebrate Posadas? We want to see your photos!