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Mexican Posada

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Miranda Lopez

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Mexican Posada

The Virgin Mary and a donkey outlined by the surrounding lights. 

Photo: @terrycervellophotography.com

The Virgin Mary and a donkey outlined by the surrounding lights. Photo: @terrycervellophotography.com

The Virgin Mary and a donkey outlined by the surrounding lights. Photo: @terrycervellophotography.com

The Virgin Mary and a donkey outlined by the surrounding lights. Photo: @terrycervellophotography.com

A Posada is a commemoration of Mary and Joseph’s journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem in answer to the census requiring people to return to their ‘hometowns’ in order to be counted. Mary was nearing time to give birth. Finding a place to stay was Joseph’s primary concern. However, they could not find a safe place to stay in Bethlehem, so Joseph and Mary found comfort in a stable where Jesus was born. According to the article “Christmas Posadas Tradition in Mexico”, the nine nights of posadas leading up to Christmas represent the nine months that Jesus spent in Mary’s womb and the nine-day journey that it took Joseph and Mary to travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem. It is celebrated in predominantly Spanish-speaking countries, such as Mexico, Ecuador, Venezuela, and Colombia. It has even spread to the United States recently.

Posada directly translates to “inn”, “rest”, “lodge” or “shelter” in Spanish. The celebration occurs on each of the nine nights before Christmas from December 16th to the 24th. The Posada in Mexico is made up of hot food and drinks, sweets, piñatas, and music. The posada commences with a procession, where the people light candles and sing Christmas songs, such as “Para Pedir Posada”. There are also re-enactments of the journey in which two people dress up as Mary and Joseph.
Often the celebrations start with a prayer service and Bible readings. According to author Suzanne E Barbezat, on each of the nine nights, a different characteristic is held up for reflection. These characteristics are humility, strength, detachment, charity, trust, justice, purity, joy, and generosity. This Mexican Christmas tradition, which has been celebrated for over 400 years is said to have originated from the Augustinian friars of San Agustin de Acolman, around Mexico City, according to author Barbezat. Spanish missionaries tried to convert the Mexican population by teaching the story of Jesus’ birth.

Posada celebrations originally took place in the church, but later evolved into neighborhoods and homes. It slowly took the form of the modern day celebration in which it is celebrated now. Neighborhoods and communities often organize the posadas, and when the annual celebration comes around, friends, families, and neighbors come together to host a Posada at a different home every night. The Posada tradition varies from home to home, but the ultimate purpose is to commemorate Joseph and Mary’s journey and bring the community together.  

During the Xavier Posada, hosted on December 7th, Ethan Salazar (’21) played Joseph and Megan Younes (’22) played Mary in the re-enactment. Students, staff, family, and friends all came together to celebrate the Posada, listen to music and enjoy traditional Mexican food, such as tamales, pozole, atole, and pan dulce.

 

Sources:

Barbezat, Suzanne“What You Need to Know About the Mexican Christmas Tradition of Posadas.” TripSavvy, TripSavvy, 31 Dec. 2017, www.tripsavvy.com/christmas-posadas-tradition-in-mexico-1588744.

Filz, Gretchen. “Journeying with Joseph & Mary: Las Posadas Christmas Tradition.” Get Fed, 15 Dec. 2016, www.catholiccompany.com/getfed/las-posadas-catholic-christmas-tradition/.

“The Posada | A Christmas Tradition in Mexico.” Hacienda Tres Rios, 15 Dec. 2016, www.haciendatresrios.com/special-occasions/posada-christmas-in-mexico-traditions/.

 

 

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About the Writer
Miranda Lopez, Writer

I am a senior at Xavier College Prep, and I am head athletic trainer and football manager. I am passionate about art and photography. I hope to attend...

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