Last Friday, my neighbors invited me to a Posada celebration held at their house. One of the neat things about living here in a primarily Spanish part of Sherman is what I’ve been learning about Spanish culture and some of the beautiful traditions.
Las Posadas, (Spanish: “The Inns”) is a religious festival celebrated in Mexico and some parts of the United States between December 16 and 24. Las Posadas commemorates the journey that Joseph and Mary made from Nazareth to Bethlehem in search of a safe refuge where Mary could give birth to the baby Jesus.
The event starts with Mary and Joseph being outside, knocking on the door. They are accompanied by others dressed as angels and shepherds. The requests to come in for shelter are sung, with responses from those inside the house also sung.
Even without knowing Spanish, I could follow just a bit, knowing what the Bethlehem story is all about.
To find out more about this tradition, I went to the website LocoGringo, where I found the following.
“At each neighborhood home, the group sings a song in hopes to have a place to stay. They are turned down at each home until eventually a neighbor will invite the group in (this is determined in advance) and the festivities begin. Drinks, food, and a star shaped piñata define this evening fiesta. As the night draws to an end, aguinaldos (small bags filled with treats and candies) are distributed as parting gifts to the guests to help them continue on their “journey.
“The process repeats for eight nights with another home accepting the group for another evening festival. On December 24th, the ninth and final night of the Posada, everyone attends midnight mass. Midnight mass is called Misa de Gallo, Mass of the Rooster. Then the real celebrations begin after mass. Santa Claus does not arrive, Christmas presents are not exchanged, this is not part of the Mexican traditional Christmas. Families go home to a big meal of traditional family delicacies and a joyous exchange of friendship, love and families. Gift giving happens January 6th on Kings Day, not on Christmas Day.”
My neighbor’s house was the one chosen to accept Mary and Joseph last Friday. Their older daughter got to be Mary, with a younger daughter dressed as an angel. She was obviously having a grand time, as evidenced in her posing for the picture-taking. 🙂
Part of the evening was spent in prayer, then fellowship began with refreshments. My neighbors served a Mexican hot chocolate that was amazing. The woman who made it couldn’t tell me how to make it, even though her husband did his best with his limited English to give the recipe and ingredients. He was, however, able to tell me that one secret was some cookies she ground up and put in the drink. It thickened it just a bit and added a new flavor. Normally Mexican hot chocolate is made with milk, bittersweet chocolate, with a touch of cayenne pepper. If you’re interested in a new taste, here’s a recipe for creamy Mexican Hot Chocolate, but I’m going to find out how to make what was served that night.
I don’t know what the food was called. The older daughter tried to tell me the name, but finally gave up and brought me a plate. It had chopped cabbage, lightly seasoned, and two fried sandwiches made from a thick tortilla-type bread filled with what I think was masa, the typical tamale filling. At least that’s what it tasted like to me, and the sandwiches were delicious.
Tonight, Christmas Eve, the Posada will end for another year, and I thought it would be nice to share this tradition on my blog today. I hope you enjoy learning something that you may not have already known. And may your Christmas Eve be one of much happiness and many blessings.