Growing up in Laredo, Texas, the custom during Christmas was to celebrate Las Posadas.
La Posada is an important part of Latin Christmas traditions.
The word Posada means “inn” or “shelter” in Spanish, and in this tradition, it reenacts the story of Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem and their search for a place to stay.
We celebrated the Posadas for 9 days beginning on December 16 and ending on December 24. It was nine nights of Posadas leading up to Christmas, representing the nine months that Jesus spent in Mary’s womb, or to represent the nine days journey to Bethlehem.
It was held at my aunt’s house and we would begin a procession. Those outside the house would sing the part of Joseph asking for shelter and those inside would play the role of the innkeeper saying that there was no room. We would proceed to another door or window and ask again for shelter.
After singing back and forth, the innkeeper would decide to let Mary and Joseph in. Everyone would go inside and there would be tamales, hot chocolate, piñatas and candy. There were lots of traditional Posada music and Christmas carols
The Posadas are celebrated throughout Latin America, originating in colonial Mexico. The Augustinian friars are believed to have celebrated the first Posadas combining the Aztecan celebration held during the winter solstice.
The Posadas originally took place at the church but then eventually were held at homes.
Each one of us is an innkeeper who decides if there is room for Jesus.