Posadas in Mexico: a Christmas Tradition that You’ll Love
Mexico is a country full of traditions! There’s a celebration going on any time of year —and when December arrives— the Christmas posadas come with it, a season of gatherings meant to bring together your loved ones.
If you’re going to be in Mexico during the second half of December, don’t miss out on the opportunity to go to a posada, it’s a tradition that you’ll absolutely love! We’re here to tell you everything you need to know about it.
What is a Christmas Posada?
Posadas are a Mexican Christmas tradition that celebrates the biblical story of the 9-day journey Joseph and Mary made to find a place to stay in Bethlehem. The posadas begin on December 16 and end on the 24 on Christmas Eve. Posada means in Spanish “shelter” or “inn”.
The celebration is a reminder of the importance of offering shelter and hospitality to those in need.
Christmas posadas are made up of several traditions, the most important being “pedir posada” (asking for posada), where the night Joseph and Mary stayed in the stable and baby Jesus was born is recreated.
How to Celebrate a Christmas Posada: Traditions You Can’t Skip On
Nowadays, posadas can be celebrated in a variety of ways. Younger people tend only to have a party one night to meet up with their friends and wish each other a merry Christmas, while others like to organize a full gathering complete with an included dinner.
However, there are 3 traditions that simply cannot be missing in a classic Christmas posada: “pedir posada”, the breaking of the piñata, and serving the fruit punch!
Don’t worry, we’ll tell you more details about each of them.
“Pedir Posada” (Asking for Posada)
This is the main tradition of the posada, as it’s the religious celebration of Joseph and Mary’s pilgrimage for a place to sleep in Bethlehem.
To do this, the party is divided into 2 groups. One group stays inside the house (representing the owners) while the other group goes outside (representing Mary and Joseph). Once in their positions, they sing a “litany” to ask for shelter. It’s a beautiful melody that’s recited with excitement and passion!
At the end of the litany, the first group opens the doors, welcoming the visitors inside.
Break the Piñata
Piñatas are recognized throughout the world as a symbol of Mexico. There, they’ll never be missing from a birthday party, especially for any little ones in the house!
At posadas, it’s tradition to break a piñata with 7 peaks, one for every deadly sin. It’s bound to be a fun time seeing as whoever is trying to hit the piñata must be blindfolded, and some failed attempts always end up in a good laugh. While this happens, the crowd cheers on with a complementary chant, which goes, “dale, dale, dale, no pierdas el tino…” and roughly translates to “go, go, go, don’t miss your shot…”. When the song ends someone else comes forward to be blindfolded, and it’s their turn to try to break it down!
The piñatas are always filled with candy or fruit so that when it breaks people can rush and grab whatever they please.
Serve the Fruit Punch
No Mexican celebration is complete without something delicious to eat or drink. In the case of posadas, although there may be some popular food options (such as delicious tamales), what can never be missing is the traditional Christmas fruit punch.
This punch is prepared with seasonal fruits such as guava, plum, and tejocote, and sweetened with sugar cane and piloncillo. It’s served very hot and it’s up to the individual to decide if they have it with a little liquor (usually rum). But generally, it’s actually a non-alcoholic drink that’s greatly enjoyed in the pleasantly cool climate of the Mexican winter.
Christmas posadas are an occasion to get together with friends before Christmas arrives and is celebrated throughout Mexico by people of all ages. By the beginning of December, people begin to organize their posadas among their friends, co-workers, and family. When the clock strikes midnight and it’s the 24th, it’s no longer considered a posada, but it’s common for some families to carry out the 3 traditions that we’ve told you about: the pilgrimage recreation of asking for posada, the breaking of the piñata, and serving the fruit punch.
Posadas are one more tradition that makes people from all over the world fall in love with Mexico and really want to put down roots in the country.
We wish you a happy holiday season with all of your loved ones!