On Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014, we celebrated Las Posadas, a traditional Latin-American celebration and telling of the Christmas Story.
"Traditionally, a party is held each night in a neighborhood home," says Pastor Jacqueline Belzer, mission developer of Cristo Rey, the Latino Ministry of Christ the King. "At dusk, guests gather outside the house with children dressed as shepherds, angels and sometimes, Mary and Joseph. An angel leads the procession, followed by Mary and Joseph or by guests carrying their images. The adults follow, carrying lighted candles."
The phrase "Entren Santos Peregrinos!" (meaning "Enter ye, holy pilgrims!" in English) is usually sung as Mary and Joseph go door to door searching for a place to stay in Bethlehem. According to Pastor Jacqueline, "The pilgrims sing a song asking for shelter, and the hosts sing a reply, finally opening the doors to the guests and offering hot ponche, fried rosette cookies known as buñuelos, and steaming hot tamales."
In Mexico, the Posadas are traditionally celebrated for nine days. "The nine days of the Posadas at the end of Advent parallel the season of Lent as they offer a period of reflection, of prayer and singing to prepare one’s heart to receive the Christ child. They are also reminders of Mary’s nine months of pregnancy," says Pastor Jacqueline.
Following the story reenactment and the meal, the Posadas always ends with the breaking of piñatas! As you can see from the photos, the kids get really excited for this part. While it may seem piñatas are just for fun, in the context of the Posadas, the piñata has a dual meaning.
"The first is the act of breaking to vanquish the enemy of the soul and thus be rewarded by the goods that come down from heaven," explains Pastor Jacqueline. "The other has a more Christological meaning: [the piñata signifies] the necessary affliction and scourge of sacrifice so goodness and mercy may be made available to all."
It was a night full of fun, food, and faith. What a terrific tradition to bring to CtK!
Here a few more photos from the evening (for a complete collection of photos, find Christ the King on Facebook):