Mexican Posadas: a tradition full of history and meaning

Mexican Posadas are one of the most emblematic traditions of the Christmas season in Mexico. This celebration, which has its roots in colonial times, combines religious and cultural elements to commemorate the pilgrimage of Mary and Joseph in search of a place to stay.

The history of Posadas dates back to the 16th century when Spanish missionaries arrived in Mexico to evangelize the indigenous population. Noticing the resistance of the native people to embrace Christianity, the missionaries decided to incorporate elements of the pre-Hispanic culture to make the Catholic doctrine more appealing.

Thus, the idea of Posadas was born. Inspired by the biblical story of the journey of Mary and Joseph, the missionaries adapted this narrative to make it more relatable and understandable for the natives. Thus, the tradition of Posadas became a mixture of Catholicism and indigenous rituals.

The celebration of Posadas begins on December 16th and lasts for nine days, culminating on December 24th. Each night, the participants divide into two groups: one represents Mary and Joseph, and the other represents the innkeepers. The group portraying Mary and Joseph visits different houses, singing carols and carrying images of the Virgin Mary and Baby Jesus.

Upon arriving at the house designated as the inn (posada), the innkeepers, who are inside the house, initially refuse to open the doors. The group of Mary and Joseph continues singing and praying, asking for shelter. Eventually, the innkeepers open the doors and offer food and drink to the pilgrims, symbolizing hospitality.

After spending a night in the inn, the group moves to another house the next day, and so on until the final night, representing Christmas Eve. On this night, everyone gathers at the church to celebrate the midnight mass and commemorate the birth of Jesus.

Mexican Posadas are much more than a simple theatrical representation. This tradition is a way to unite communities, strengthen family bonds, and foster solidarity and generosity. Through Posadas, values such as hospitality, humility, and a sense of community are passed down.

Today, Posadas are still celebrated throughout Mexico and in some Mexican-origin communities in other parts of the world. Each year, thousands of people participate in this festivity, remembering and honoring the roots of their culture and faith.

In conclusion, Mexican Posadas are a tradition deeply rooted in the history and culture of Mexico. Through this celebration, the story of Mary and Joseph’s pilgrimage is evoked, important values are transmitted, and community ties are strengthened. Posadas serve as a reminder of the importance of solidarity and hospitality, especially during the Christmas season.