Holiday Season here in Merida! - Las Posadas

As a part of the traditional christmas celebrations here in Mexico are the posadas.

December 16th saw the start of Las Posadas,
the nine days of celebration culminating with Christmas Eve, or Noche Buena.

Here in my neighborhood, which is an older and more traditional YucaMaya neighborhood, they still celebrate with posadas, which are fiestas or parties that prepare for the arrival of the baby Jesus on December 25th -

The posadas typically starts with the group gathering and praying a rosary, then part of the group splits off to become peregrinos (pilgrims) going from home to home, singing the traditional posada song - which come from the stories of how Mary and Joseph had to travel village to village seeking shelter. The peregrinos pass around the neighborhood in a procession, complete with costumed Mary and Joseph, palm leaves, candles, etc and sing in front of differing houses. Most of this is prearranged, and the different houses will all deny Mary and Joseph shelter until they get to the last house, which invites the peregrinos in and offers them all a beverage, typically ponche*, and maybe some cookies. It really is a lovely tradition.

*Ponche is a lovely drink, served warm, of fruit juices, sugar cane or pilloncillo, cinnamon, chunks of fruit, etc. I'm sure the recipe changes a bit family to family, and region by region, depending on what is seasonally available.

Noche Buena (the evening of the 24th of December) is when the big day of family celebration occurs. Families get together to attend midnight mass then gather to eat, drink, sing, and celebrate the season. There is typically a piñata, which is hugely popular with all ages. Piñatas are not just for the kids! There is also a big midnight meal, as well as gifts. One such gift is the aguinaldo, which are bags with fruits, nuts, and candies.

The traditional piñata used for Posadas is a star with 7 cones, or points. I found a few relationship details about the Star shape, and the number of points.

One says; "The points on the star represent the devil and the seven deadly sins, the goodies inside are blessings El Diablo is hiding, and busting it open releases them." Sanchez and Sons, Pinata makers in Phoenix

Another says; "All these elements have a meaning:

  • The seven cones represent the 7 sins
  • Being blindfolded represents faith
  • The stick represents virtue
  • The inside treats are the glory of God that falls upon you"

I am not religious, but I still enjoy and appreciate these traditions.

It's one of the many things I love about living here in Mexico - it has opened my eyes more fully to differences, and I have an ever growing respect for the traditions and beliefs of others.