Las Posadas: Celebrations of Advent in Mexico

“Las Posadas” is one of the strongest and most colorful Hispanic traditions, typically celebrated every evening from Dec. 16-24. The celebration, which our own Congregation of Holy Cross parishes in Mexico commemorate, reenacts Joseph and Mary’s cold and difficulty journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem in search of shelter. People take the part of Joseph and Mary and walkin procession from one “designated” house to another, singing hymns and praying the rosary. When Joseph and Mary arrive at each house they knock at the door. Everyone outside with themsings a ritual song asking for Posada – a place to stay. Everyone inside the house sings the ritual song rejecting the couple. At the end of journey when shelter is finally provided, there is a social celebration with food, music and pinatas, paying a festive homage to the journey.

At the party there’s a pinata with 7 points, representing the 7 capital sins. People try to destroy the pinata which issymbolic of destroying sin. When the pinata eventually breaks, there’s candy and treats inside which spill out all over and which represents goodness andgrace. What a fun and engagingway to reflect on Joseph and Mary’s long road to Bethlehem!

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