Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Las Posadas in Mexico

Christmas time in Mexico, like all Latin American countries is steeped in religious tradition. There are a lot of traditional activities that are centered around Christ much more than is seen in the United States. The foremost tradition is known as La Posada. Posada really translates to mean, the Inn, and is in keeping with the story of Joseph and Mary’s arrival into Bethlehem and finding no room in the Inn.
The tradition states that Joseph and Mary left on the 100 mile journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem on the 16th of December and it took them 8 days and nights to arrive. Thus, the tradition of La Posada begins on the 16th of December every year.
The tradition is carried out in neighborhoods and most of the families participate. Each night one family is chosen to be the final Inn and two others are chosen to reject the couple. Thus begins a parade of usually children and a few teenagers going through the streets of the neighborhood, carrying with them statues of Mary and Joseph with Mary sitting on a Donkey and Joseph leading the way, and in other towns, people are used to represent Joseph and Mary.
The procession goes down the street until they come to the first “Inn” on their list. The next portion is done in song between the procession on the outside desiring to get in, and the “Innkeeper family” on the inside saying that there is no room. At the first two stops of the night, the following versus are sung.

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