Las Posadas: A Journey Of Faith And Tradition

Next Monday, 16 December 2024

Las Posadas, a cherished tradition for Latin American and Hispanic communities is celebrated from December 16th to December 24th globally.

The nine-day celebration portrays Mary and Joseph's journey to Bethlehem in search of shelter, highlighting the virtues of unity, hospitality, and faith.

Throughout these nine days, communities come together for nightly celebrations that enact the Nativity story, weaving together a rich assortment of customs and memories that last for generations.

A popular and colorful lead-up to Christmas, Las Posadas is a world of enchantment enhanced by food, music, and communal holiday cheer.

An AI generated Image Depicting Las Posadas Celebrations

Origin of Las Posadas

With roots in Mexican colonial history, Las Posadas evolved over centuries into the beloved tradition that it is today. The earliest attempts at evangelization in the Americas by Spanish missionaries are the source of the tradition.

The word "posada" directly translates to "inn" or "lodging" in Spanish due to the tradition of reenacting Mary and Joseph's journey to Bethlehem. 

It is believed that the Augustinian friars of San Agustin de Acolman organized the first-ever Posadas near Mexico City. 

Pope Sixtus V granted Friar Diego de Soria, an Augustinian prior, a papal bull in 1586 allowing him to celebrate "Misas de Aguinaldo," or "Christmas bonus masses," from December 16 to December 24.

Following the winter solstice, the Aztecs had a tradition of paying respect to their god Huitzilopotchli during this season.

The celebrations initially began in the church but as the popularity of the festival grew, it moved to haciendas, then to respective homes, and eventually evolved into what it is today during the 19th century. 

The Significance of Las Posadas

Las Posadas serves both social and religious purposes as it commemorates and retells the story of Jesus's birth while simultaneously establishing a feeling of unity in the community. 

This celebration highlights the themes of hospitality, hope, and faith, and everyone who participates gets to see the Holy Family's journey. 

How to Celebrate Las Posadas

There are so many heartfelt and meaningful traditions involved in the celebration of Las Posadas over nine nights. 

Every night, a group of people, referred to as "peregrinos" or pilgrims, enact Mary and Joseph's journey in search of safety.

Wrapped in biblical outfits, they make their way from one home to another requesting lodging as other members of the community assume the role of innkeepers.

The reenactment includes traditional songs and dialogue that tell the story of Mary and Joseph's search for safety and convey their needs. The community is frequently included in these performances, which promote a sense of cohesion and shared experience.

For kids especially, breaking the piñata, which is usually shaped like the Star of Bethlehem, is a source of excitement and a symbol of good triumphing over evil.

Food also has a big part in the festivities; participants share traditional foods like tamales and "ponche," a spiced fruit punch.

Christmas Eve (Nochebuena), when people get together for a late-night meal, trade gifts, and enjoy each other's company, is the pinnacle of Las Posadas.

The traditional Midnight Mass, also called Misa de Gallo or Rooster's Mass, is a holy service that honors the birth of Jesus and begins amid this joyous atmosphere.

Highlighting the religious significance of Las Posadas, it's a time for introspection, prayer, and thankfulness.

Las Posadas: A Journey Of Faith And Tradition
Las Posadas: A Journey Of Faith And Tradition

Las Posadas: A Journey Of Faith And Tradition - Next years

Tuesday, 16 December 2025

Wednesday, 16 December 2026

Thursday, 16 December 2027

How many days until?

Select the event: