The Posada is a 400-year-old Latino Christmas Celebration, a novenario (extended devotional prayer). Traditionally celebrated for 9 days, between December 16th and December 24th, it represents the 9 months of Mary’s pregnancy.
Posada is a Spanish word meaning ‘inn’ or ‘accommodation’ and is taken from the inn in the story of the nativity, when Mary and Joseph with Jesus in-utero (the Holy Family) arrive in Bethlehem and find no room for them.
In Mexico, groups of actors travel to homes designated as ‘inns’ for one night each of the 9 nights of the celebration. At each house, the resident sings a song of welcome and the actors are admitted. They kneel before the home’s nativity set (crib) to pray (traditionally, the rosary). The final location is usually in the church, where the whole nativity scene is assembled. Other actors may join the group, as shepherds, angels or kings, or they may carry icons/images of the various other figures from the nativity story.
In the homes that the posada visits, Christmas carols are sung and there is a lot of joyous noise-making with home-made instruments. Pinatas are made and filled with sweets and fruit. Traditionally, these are shaped like a seven-point star (to represent the seven deadly sins to overcome during the preparation time of Advent) and can be made from carboard, paper mâché and crepe paper.
In recent years in the UK, schools and churches have adopted the posada through the sharing of a set of Holy Family figures (knitted by members of the church community or crafted in some other way) in a box between households. For some the journey starts earlier to fit in all the 'inns' that are willing to welcome them. This year we can't share figures around so we have an alternative idea for you to use and adapt!
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