Thursday, December 17, 2009

Las Posadas (in English)

Las Posadas is a Mexican celebration beginning on the 16th of December and continuing until the 24th. "Posada" means "shelter" and so "Pedir Posadas" is "to ask for shelter", as Mary and Joseph did.

In a nutshell, it is a combination of caroling and a nativity play. Mary and Joseph, angels, sometimes a donkey, with a crowd of other guests, go from door to door singing and asking for shelter. No one will let them in. Sometimes there are "devils" at each house preventing their entry. Here's the song in English and Spanish, and a small video.

Finally, the poor pilgrims are allowed in, and a big party follows, with pinatas and tamales and fun. On the 24th, everyone would then head to church at midnight for the Misa del gallo (Mass of the rooster)(Midnight Mass).

The history of the piñata in the video from yesterday was new to me. He said that the piñata was a representation of sin, looking all pretty and fancy, and that the seven points represented the seven deadly sins. We are blindfolded when trying to hit the piñata to break it, because we have to rely on faith, and when it is finally broken, we are rewarded. Pretty neat! Those were some clever friars way back... whenever.

Pics from here and here and here and here (lots more information in these places too).

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