Las Posadas in San Miguel de Allende

posadas

We are in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, for the holidays, staying in my aunt’s house.

Christmas is a big deal here.  There are pinatas and other holiday decorations all over the town.  And there’s a neat tradition of nightly Posadas over the 9 (?) nights up to Xmas.  There’s one big one for the town each evening, I think, and then apparently many small neighborhood ones.  We were looking for “the posada” and fell into what we later realized was a little subsidiary one.  It’s sort of like carolling.  A group of people, including a lot of kids, walk slowly to different houses, singing and holding candles and small sparklers.  A little girl handed us candles but Celie and Iris found the sparklers to be too scary and the candles too difficult to keep lit.

The posada is a re-enactment of the virgin Mary and Joseph’s travels from door to door seeking shelter.  At each house the pasoda participants — peregrinos – sing (a kind of haunting, droning song), asking for shelter, and are refused.  Finally we come to a house where some of the group is invited in, and then bags of candy are handed out to all the kids, along with cups of punch.  So, las posadas are sort of like a cross between Christmas carolling and holloween, in a way.  I think a posada sometimes culminates in a theatrical event that can include the virgin Mary riding on an actual donkey, although ours wasn’t so elaborate.  We trailed along for a bit with the larger town posada that featured a pickup truck float with actors in the role of Mary, an angel, & Joseph.

We had bought pinatas that afternoon in the main market: a lion and a bear.  The girls were really excited to come home and stuff the pinatas with the candy from the posada.  I guess we’ll bust them open on Xmas day.

My mom was shocked that the girls asked who Baby Jesus is.  (They definitely have been told about Jesus before.)  They were fascinated by the church in the town square, especially by the statues of the bloody Jesus after having been taken off the cross.  Celie was quizzing me about what praying is.

5 Responses

  1. when you find one with a theatrical conclusion, take pictures! this sounds really fun!

    also, heh–who IS baby Jesus, anyway . . . ?

  2. This posada in Mexico. I was just in a theater piece La Natividad in a large puppet theater nearby, very Mexican around here, Latin American more and more and the theater is on a large urban street Lake Street (runs from some lakes to the Mississippi) and the show I was in started in a large enclosed mercado with many restaurants and another storefront where the Mary/Joseph story was told then the people brought to the theater where I did Herod vs. the Kings and the Shepherds and the Star and then out in the street again, passing up to a church. Herod stops the crowd Do Not Enter (immigration theme) and then to a church where I played a bison around the manger scene, all with church choirs quite nice music. I didn’t know about the posada tradition though i guess I assumed it from what I saw of the show.

    Sounds like fun, mine was except for the low temps and difficult weather.

  3. Yeah, Posadas work best when it’s warm out.

    Sounds like a cool performance!

  4. Yeah, I want to hear your specific explanation of baby Jesus and praying. We managed to avoid all baby jesuses this x-mas, dunno how. A saw a little crucifixion statue at my aunt’s in Santa Cruz, and couldn’t believe when I told her what it was supposed to represent (I just said it was a dead man, and that was how they used to kill people way back when… and I didn’t have much to add after that).

    These holidays are hard for us non-Jesus types!

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