Celebrating Las Posadas is a must when enjoying Christmas in Mexico or in the U.S. among Mexicans.
In Mexico Christmas starts shortly after la fiesta de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe or Our Lady of Guadalupe, and Las Posadas start on December 16th and end on December the 24th.
Children in Mexico recreate the pilgrimage that Mary and Joseph lived while searching for lodging in what is one of the most awaited Mexican traditions.
A Unique Mexican Christmas Tradition That Children Love
Las Posadas are trully a children’s tradition since it is them who participate in recreating the complete pilgrimage of Mary and Joseph in search for lodging.
Adult participants take turns in hosting the celebration each day. When all participants arrive at the designated home for the night, they sing the versos of Las Posadas, and villancicos typical Christmas carols- with hand made instruments like cans with small stones inside and corcholatas which are flattened bottle caps passed through a wire.
Some people go to Mass every night during these nine days. In the U.S., the reenactors go to three homes until they find lodging at the third one where they pray, sing and end the night with a piñata party.
The Origin of Las Posadas
Las Posadas were born when Spanish Catholic missionaries asked Rome to give a special permission to celebrate nine Christmas Masses to represent the nine months of Marys pregnancy along with teachings about Jesus birth.
Catholic evangelists took advantage of the 9-day celebrations in the ancient Aztec tradition of Fiestas del Sol which ran from December 16th to the 24th. The festivity celebrated the virgin birth of the Aztec Sun god, Huitzilopchtli. The Spaniards made the dates of Fiestas del Sol coincide with the dates of what would become Las Posadas.
Each night after the celebration of Las Posadas there is a party that includes a “piñata” which the kids love to break to find nuts and candy inside. Music and dance also accompanies the celebration along typical foods like fritters and hot chocolate.
Did you know the first piñata was made of ceramic in the shape of a star, and was covered with papers of different colors? Each point of the star represented un pecado capital or one of the seven-deadly sins.
The idea of the piñata was to resist the temptation of the sins by hitting it hard therefore crushing the evil and being rewarded with gifts from heaven: the candy, fruits and nuts that come out of the piñata.
Pinatas take a special place in Hispanic culture. Pinatas are more than a simple decoration or game. If you want to know more about Mexican pinatas read this article.
My Favorite Piñatas and Nativities to Celebrate Las Posadas
Here I included some pinatas that represent some of the most popular figures to celebrate Las posadas. I like these pinatas because they are inexpensive but also, because they have the shape of the typical Mexican Pinata.
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Celebrating Las posadas is a tradition that has been embraced by mexican-Americans and that is very well known in Southern states that have heavy Mexican population. This tradition reinforces the Catholic attachments that Hispanic Culture is subject to.