December 18th is time for Las Posadas
Posada is Spanish for lodging or accomodation. It is said in plural because traditionally Las Posadas is held for nine days in Spain, Mexico, and many South and Central American countries. The procession represents Mary and Joseph's search for a place for the Christ child to be born. It may have been started in 1538 by St. Ignatius of Loyola or Friar Pedro de Gant. It has been a tradition in Mexico for 400 years.
Typically, each family in a neighborhood will schedule a night for the Posada to be held at their home, starting on the 16th of December and finishing on the 24th. Every home has a nativity scene and the hosts of the Posada act as the innkeepers The neighborhood children and adults are the pilgrims (los peregrinos), who have to request lodging by going house to house singing a traditional song about the pilgrims. All the pilgrims carry small candles in their hands, and four people carry small statues of Joseph leading a donkey, on which Mary is riding.
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. The procession will be followed by musicians, with the entire procession singing songs.
Here at Emmanuel Las Posadas is celebrated with "inns" located in the various rooms around the church campus. We travel from place to place by candlelight singing songs accompanied by Fr. Rob on guitar. There are "grumpy" innkeepers found at each "inn" refusing us entrance. The traditional script we use has been translated from Spanish by our friends at Epiphany parish in East L.A.
At the final "inn" we are welcomed by more hospitable innkeepers who invite us in for a feast of tamales and other goodies and a pinata for the kids. Come join us for this inspiring and enjoyable evening starting at 6 pm December 18th. For many of us Las Posadas has become a regular part of our yearly Christmas tradition.