While staying in Mexico, I have pleasantly found that the culture has many traditions in addition to the normal hurrah for Christmas. Beginning on December 16th, there is a traditional novena each year called “Posada”. At this time, this tradition has become mostly secularized and for the nine days before Christmas, most Mexicans only have nine days of consecutive parties.
Our Parish at Nuestra Señora Del Pilar, however, has sought to bring back this old tradition of Posada to it’s historic background. During each of the nine days, the families of the parish gather together, at the home of a parish family, to contemplate the events before Christ’s birth, especially the travel to Bethlehem. For Posada means to be allowed into the inn, and so this tradition recalls how there was no room at the inns when Mary and Joseph were trying to find a place to stay.
We began each day of the Posada with a rosary while processing around the block with an image of the Nativity scene. Afterwards, we sang the old traditional Posada song. Half of the group would be inside the family’s house and the other half, with the Nativity scene, would be outside asking for Posada. The group inside would respond that they had no room – – and to try somewhere else. In a similar manner, the song would continue for a few stanzas more. On the last stanza, however, the inside group would allow us to come inside. Here the festivities would begin. For first, there was a dinner for all, then fireworks, and each day the children were given a small bag of candy, much to their delight.
God bless you all, and Happy New Year!
Please read more at Rekindling the Faith in Latin America