The holiday season is filled with festivities commemorating the traditions of various cultures, nationalities, and countries of origins – especially in a state as diverse as Texas. One of our favorite celebrations this time of year is dear to many Texans of Mexican descent – Las Posadas.
What is Las Posadas?
Las Posadas is nine-day religious observance celebrated primarily in Mexico and by Mexican-Americans, with events beginning on the evening of December 16 and continuing every evening until December 24th. The religious celebration commemorates the journey that Joseph and Mary made to Bethlehem in search of a safe place to give birth to baby Jesus.
Each night, a small child dresses as an angel and leads a procession through the streets of the city or neighborhood. Directly following this angel are two children dressed as Mary and Joseph. The crowd is mainly made up of children dressed in silver and gold robes carrying lit candles and images of Mary and Joseph.
Adults follow the children, and ask selected homes for lodging for Mary and Joseph. It is tradition that the hosts refuse – marking how the couple could find “no room in the inn” while awaiting the birth of their child – but the procession still enjoys refreshments while reading Scripture and singing Christmas carols.
Each night’s procession typically ends in Mass, followed by a celebration where star-shaped pinatas filled with candies, goodies and sometimes money are broken open.
What is the History of Las Posadas?
Las Posadas claims origins stretching back to the late 16th century, while some of the roots of the elements in the celebration age back to the 10th and 11th centuries. In short, this was an attempt to evangelize the Aztecs living in Mexico. The Roman Catholic Church merged then-out-of-favor “Bible plays” with a commemoration of the Aztec sun god Huitzilopochtli and let the holiday flow into Christmas Day. One of the first recognized Las Posadas celebrations can be traced to 1586 when Friar Diego de Soria requested and received a papal bull from Pope Sixtus V to hold a Christmas Mass preceded by a novena.
Even without the history, this is a wonderful celebration is packed with fun, energy, and lively activities for children and adults alike, as it brings together friends and family
Enjoy your Las Posadas celebrations!