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Las Posadas “The Inns” is a religious festival celebrated in Mexico and some parts of the United States between December 16 and 24 commemorating the journey that Joseph and Mary made from Nazareth to Bethlehem.
See the fact file below for more information on the Las Posadas or alternatively, you can download our 23-page Las Posadas worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
HISTORY OF LAS POSADAS
- The first posadas was believed to have originated in 1586. It was introduced by Friar Diego de Soria, an Augustinian friar of San Agustin de Acolman, near Mexico City, to celebrate Misas de Aguinaldo or ‘Christmas bonus masses’ between December 16 and 24.
- It is also believed that in line with the ancient Aztec Empire’s, worshipping of Huitzilopochtli, the god of war, during the winter solstice, the missionaries converted the event into the story of Jesus’ birth in 1852.
- The celebrations were originally held in the church but it expanded to haciendas, and then to family homes, gradually taking the form of public celebration as it is today.
- Now, Mexican neighborhood committees organize the posadas, and family participants offer to host the celebration each night.
LAS POSADAS TRADITIONS
- Las Posadas celebration is completed with prayer, music, food, and piñatas.
- It primarily commemorates Mary and Joseph’s search for an inn. To emulate the event, they form a procession and the owner of the home finally lets everyone in.
- The procession includes a colorful pageant of kids, representing the “pilgrims” or peregrinos and costumed as Joseph, Mary, angels, shepherds, and the Three Wise Men.
- Upon arrival, the hosts or “innkeepers” meet the procession to sing traditional songs, Pidiendo Posada.
- Following the processions are the adults and musicians.
- Outside Singers:
- In the name of heaven,
- I ask you for shelter
- because my beloved wife
- can continue no longer.
- Inside Singers:
- This is no inn,
- continue on your way.
- I am not about to open.
- You may be a scoundrel.
- The song goes on for several stanzas until Joseph and Mary are finally recognized and allowed inside. Everyone now sings:
- Let us sing with joy,
- all bearing in mind
- that Jesus, Joseph, and Mary
- honor us by having come.
- In earlier days, the procession is refused lodging by non-designated homes, though the hosts often provide refreshments for everyone.
- Then, at each home and other stops, passages of scripture are read and Christmas carols are sung.
- Once at the accommodating home, everyone sings carols and shares in food and drink. Depending on the economic status of the host family, they can offer simple snacks of hot chocolate or be extravagant and make traditional tamales and ponche.
- What follows is Christmas party music, piñata bashing, sweet treats, and fireworks.
- On Christmas eve, December 24th, the final night of the posada, everyone attends midnight mass called Misa de Gallo, or Mass of the Rooster.
- Las Posadas culminates in a feast at the Cena de Nochebuena, meaning “Christmas Eve Dinner” where families gather together for a meal.
- Common foods prepared are romeritos (baked shrimp), bacalao (dried codfish), roast turkey, Christmas salad, and lots of sweet and sugary buñuelos.
- For children, the highlight of the celebration is the breaking of the piñata, a brightly decorated paper (or pottery) container filled with candy and toys.
- As the story goes, “Joseph (a carpenter) and his pregnant wife, Mary, left their town of Nazareth to be registered in the Bethlehem census. When they got to Bethlehem, they could not find a place to stay. All the inns were full, and they were turned away every time – until, finally, they received refuge in a stable.” Reference Luke 2: 1–7.
- The piñatas are often designed as colorful seven-pointed stars which are said to have guided the Three Wise Men of biblical tradition to the newborn Jesus.
- Using a stick, the children put on blindfolds and take turns hitting the suspended piñata. When it breaks and the contents spill out, everyone rushes in to collect the various gifts and sweets.
- As time went on, modern piñatas had come in a variety of shapes, ranging from animals to cartoon characters.
- In native Mexico and Mexican communities in the United States especially Texas, New Mexico, California and Arizona, the Las Posadas celebration includes a Christmas tree, lots of presents, or maybe a visit by Santa.
CELEBRATIONS AROUND THE WORLD
- In the Philippines, the tradition begins on December 15 with Misa de Gallo meaning, midnight mass, every night for nine consecutive nights prior to Christmas Eve.
- In Nicaragua, La Gritería or The Shoutings begins on December 7 when friends and family parade in the streets to sing in praise of the Virgin Mary then visit neighbors to share food, drink, and exchange gifts.
- Meanwhile, Puerto Ricans usually celebrate beginning December 10 to January 6 for – Día de Los Reyes Magos, meaning Three Kings Day.
- Each night, merrymakers look forward to generous gifts of Christmas coquito (a variation of egg nog) and platters of pasteles (savory meat pastries).
Las Posadas Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the Las Posadas across 23 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Las Posadas worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the Las Posadas “The Inns” which is a religious festival celebrated in Mexico and some parts of the United States between December 16 and 24 commemorating the journey that Joseph and Mary made from Nazareth to Bethlehem.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Las Posadas Facts
- The Country of Traditions
- Mexico’s Christmas Traditions
- The Nativity
- Away in a Manger
- Symbol of Piñata
- Make your own Piñata
- Let’s Eat Bunuelos!
- Christmas Traditions
- Christmas Collage
- The Spirit of Christmas
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Link will appear as Las Posadas Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, July 21, 2021
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.