Posada is Spanish for "lodging" and it is said in plural because it is celebrated for nine days, December 16-24th. Typically, each family in a neighborhood will schedule a night for the Posada to be held at their house. Every home has a nativity scene and the hosts of the Posada act as the innkeepers. The neighborhood children and adults are the peregrinos, or pilgrims, who have to request lodging by going house to house singing a traditional song about the peregrinos. All the peregrinos carry small lit candles in their hands, and four people carry small statues of Joseph leading a donkey, on which Mary is riding. The head of the procession will have a candle inside a paper lamp shade. At each house, the resident responds by refusing lodging, also in song, until the weary travelers reach the designated site for the party, where Mary and Joseph are finally recognized and allowed to enter. Once the "innkeepers" let them in, the group of guests come into the home and kneel around the Nativity scene to pray, typically, the Rosary. Latin American countries have continued to celebrate this holiday to this day, with very few changes to the tradition. In some places, the final location may be a church instead of a home. Individuals may actually play the various parts of María (Mary) and Joseph with the expectant mother riding a real burro, with attendants such as angels and shepherds acquired along the way, or the peregrinos may carry images of the holy personages instead. At the end of the long journey, there will be villancicos (Christmas carols), children will break open piñatas.
While we are talking about Spanish Christmas and while we are studying the Middle Age/Renaissance, I thought I would mention the traditonal Spanish Christmas Carol, Riu, Riu, Chiu, which is of the type known as a 'villancico', dating from the 16th century.
Here it is done by the Monkees...
A simple teatime of Cinnamon-Sugar Snowflakes and Mexican Hot Chocolate seemed like a good way to celebrate this Spanish-Mexican tradition.
|Getting out the nativities seemed like an appropriate thing to do today as well.|