This Mexican tradition takes place during the month of December. If you are not Mexican, it might be the case that you had never heard before about this celebration, but do not worry, I will explain you everything you need to know about this tradition.
Origin of the Posadas
This tradition is of a religious origin, because it is a representation of when Maria and Joseph were looking for a place to spend the night for the birth of Jesus.
When Do You Celebrate the Posadas?
The “posadas” are celebrated from December 16th to December 24th; in total we have 9 “posadas” and we start on the night of December 16th and finish on the night of December 24th, just before the Christmas day.
Where Do You Celebrate Them?
This celebration takes place all over the country, and of course in any other parts of the world where there are at least some Mexican people.
The tradition consists of that the people in each neighborhood organize and decide who is going to be the responsible for receiving in their house 1 of the 9 ‘posadas’; that house will be in charge of organizing and receiving all the people for the celebration.
The Meaning of Asking For Posada
“Asking for posada”: the first thing you have to do in this celebration is “to ask for posada”. This consists of the following: all of the people attending the party need to divide into 2 groups: the first one will stay inside the house in charge of the ‘posada’, and the rest of the people will be the ‘peregrinos’ (pilgrims).
The ‘peregrinos’ have to walk around the streets of the neighborhood, carrying candles and singing (it is really common for the people who are in front of this group to have costumes of Joseph and Maria, in case they are not dressed like that, they will carry small figures of Maria and Joseph).
After walking around the neighborhood, the ‘peregrinos’ arrive finally to their destination – the house organizing the “posada”. After knocking a few times on the door, the ‘peregrinos’ and the people inside the house will start to sing a typical song that goes like this:
In the name of the heavens
I request lodging from you,
Because she cannot walk,
My beloved wife…
After some refusals of the people in the house, they will finally allow the ‘peregrinos’ to enter and the party can start.
You can check the whole song here.
Enter, holy pilgrims, receive this small place, for though this dwelling is poor, I offer it with all my heart.
Typical Food and Drinks
Finally, the “peregrinos” found a place to spend the night, and now it is time to celebrate. During the “posadas” there are typical dishes and drinks; you will find the traditional “ponche”, a hot drink that is made of fruits such as: apples, oranges, lemon, tejocote, prunes, and guava. Also you can drink typical coffee or a hot cup of chocolate, and you can eat of course traditional bread that is called “buñuelo”.
Like in a lot of Mexican parties, we have the tradition to break a piñata. The traditional piñata of the “posadas” is an aspheric figure of clay decorated with colorful papers, it needs to have 7 peaks, each peak representing one capital sin.
The children and adult people need to have their eyes covered and they have to hit the piñata in order to break it. The objective of this is to win what is inside of the piñata (candies, fruits and sometimes money).
What Is an ‘Aguinaldo’ in the Posadas?
At the end of each ‘posada’, every participant receives something called “aguinaldo”. That in reality is a small bag full of candies or fruit, and this is given to thank each person for their participation in the “posada”.
This tradition is one of the most beautiful and one of the most missed ones while living in a foreign country. What traditions do you have in your country before Christmas? How do you celebrate Christmas in your country? I will be waiting for your comments.