|The Posadas, a Mexican Catholic tradition, are celebrated from December 16 to December 24. These nine days symbolize the journey of Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem and the search for lodging for the night Jesus was born.
The origin of the Posadas goes back to the 16th century, when the Augustinians, in the monastery of Acolman, sent a request to the Pope to have nine special outdoor masses called Misas de Aguinaldo (a word that means Christmas gift). The main purpose was to use this ritual to explain to the native people of Mexico the journey Joseph and Mary took to Bethlehem just before the birth of the baby Jesus.
|Subsequently, the Franciscan nuns, the first religious order of women who came to Mexico, also used this method to evangelize indigenous children through carols and “asked for posada” ,offering children a package with snacks. The celebration goes as follows. The hosts at each home are the innkeepers, and the neighbors are the pilgrims, who have to request lodging through singing a simple chant. All carry small lit candles in their hands. The pilgrims ask for lodging in three different houses, but only the third one allows them in. That is the house where the Posada takes place. Once the innkeepers let them in, the group of guests come into the home and kneels around the Nativity scene to pray the Rosary.
After the prayer, the party for the children begins with a piñata filled with peanuts, oranges, tangerines, sugar canes and hard candy. Food is very important during these festivities. Different types of tamales, buñuelos, hojaldras de mole andchurros with thick chocolate are part of the menu and play a central role in these festivities.
As the Posadas wind through the streets, ponche is ladled out to the “pilgrims” at the doors of the houses. The drink is usually made with seasonal fruits. The adults can add a shot of brandy, cognac, rum or whisky. There are also other options likechampurrado and hot chocolate with milk.
Article by Con Acento Latino – Spanish language and Latin culture. http://www.conacentolatino.com