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Breaking Down Las Posadas

by Karina Corona |

A Christmas Tradition in Mexico

Christmastime in Mexico is a time filled with family, friends, neighbors, great food (tamales, of course), and traditional festivities. One of the oldest traditions still practiced by many Mexican families today are "las posadas". These nightly celebrations leading up to Christmas bring the community together for one reason: to commemorate the arrival of baby Jesus. From the reenactment to the food served, we're breaking down "las posadas". Check it out:

What does Posada stand for?

In Spanish, Posada means  "shelter" or "inn". 

When do the Posadas occur?

The posadas are recognized and celebrated the 9 days leading up to Christmas (Dec 16-24), with each day representing a month of Mary's pregnancy.

What are the Posadas?

The posadas are a religious tradition meant to honor the journey of Joseph and Mary as they searched for a place to stay in time for the arrival of baby Jesus. Originating from Spain, the posadas have been practiced in Mexico for over 400 years. Each night, a different family hosts the festivities and agrees to take in the "pilgrims" once they arrive at their doorstep. Prayers, music, and a reenactment of Mary and Joseph's journey are all a part of the Posada celebration.

What do you do at a Posada?

Typically, the night begins with a prayer— some times a recitation of the rosary. After the prayers, comes the "caminata" or "pilgrimage". For this, the pilgrims (guests) go from door to door around the block singing songs (explaining the journey) and holding candles (to light the way to the manger), while asking for shelter. It isn't until they reach the home of the host of the posada, that the doors are opened and they are granted a place to stay.

Once inside the posada, guests are invited to break the star shaped piñata. Each point of the piñata (7 total) represent one of the 7 deadly sins. Guests are then blindfolded & instructed to hit the piñata with a stick, as a way to represent the conquering/overcoming of sin. The treats falling from the broken piñata are meant to represent God's blessings.

The night continues with more prayer, music, and traditional Mexican foods.  

What do you eat at a Posada?

Traditional Posada foods include: tamales, pozole, buñuelos, atole, ponche and café de olla.

Whether you're hosting a Posada, Christmas Eve dinner, or just want to make tamales at home, our easy to follow Red Pork Tamales recipe will help you make, share, and enjoy this traditional dish with friends & family.

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