Las Posadas 2016 beginning December 16th and ending December 24th.
The ancestry of Las Posadas extends profoundly into Latin culture as it instigated in Spain. Las Posadas are popular musical commemorations eminent in Mexico and some parts of Central America, Colombia, Venezuela and Ecuador. The festival is originated from Mexico but has become very popular in the United States especially in Hispanic region. In Spanish, the term Las Posadas means lodging, Inns, Shelter or accommodation. The Las Posadas revolve around the concept of hospitality, pilgrims, pilgrimage, rousing songs, and prayers in order to hold Posadas. This commemoration dates back to the 16th century where St. Ignatius Loyola used Aztec festival to teach the birth of Christ to the people. Las Posadas signifies the biblical journey of Mary and Joseph who travelled all the way from Nazareth to Bethlehem to get registered in the census destined by the emperor Augustus. At this juncture, Mary and Joseph search for shelter during the days before Christ Jesus was born where they found great difficulty searching for an accommodation to spend the night and are forced to seek shelter in a stable, where Jesus Christ child was born. Las Posadas is a religious and social carnival which starts nine days before Christmas that commences on December 16 and ends on December 24 each year. These nine days (Novenario) religious ceremony is in context to the journey of Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem related to the nine months that Maria carried Jesus in her womb dating back to the early colonial period.
Las Posadas is similar to Hanukkah because it is celebrated differently in each region but all have the common theme of re-enacting the tradition. The celebrations include a procession led by children, adults, families, musicians and friends who walk from house to house singing villancicos. Re-enacting Mary and Joseph search for shelter to spend the night, friends and neighbours visit to each other’s homes which are sometimes held in churches and streets as well. Each night they travel to different houses, villages and neighbourhoods in search of lodgings carrying lit candles. The leader of the group carries a “farolito” and a child dressed as Mary and Joseph leads the procession and other children pull the wagon that has a nativity picture put up on it. The “carollers” knock the door of the house and ask if there is room and, if so, they enter the designated house starting with evening prayers for the Las Posadas party. The Las Posadas part begins with full of music, fun, fireworks, different food, candies and treat for all with great delicious food. Posadas play is presented by the family hosting the party with children dressed up as shepherds, angels and sometimes, Mary and Joseph. The guests are offered hot ponche, fried rosette buñuelos, steaming hot tamales and other festive foods. Finally, the party ends with children breaking star shaped “piñata”.
Thus, Las Posada’s is all about hospitality, pilgrims, pilgrimage, rousing songs, prayers and deep faith in motion.