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.


About Debi in Merida

I moved from Colorado Springs, Colorado USA to Merida, Yucatan, MX in January 2006. I love to read, garden, travel, and hang out with friends.
This entry was posted in holiday traditions, las posadas. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Holiday Season here in Merida! – Las Posadas

  1. @Nancy – Thanks for the suggestion! I've finally entered the post!

    @WGringa – Gracias, yes, that tidbit about the aguinaldo was new to me, but for a kid, it could interpret the same. ie: you only get presents If you're good!

    @Suk – yes, still liking the ipad very much. Best wishes to you and your mom, hope all works out for you!

    @Stan – it is amazing isn't it, how they will invite us, as perfect strangers, to enjoy their fiestas and culture!

    @John and Alan – The posadas are a regular tradition here in San Sebastian – unfortunately, well in a sense, this time of year we are away so much in the evening we tend to miss them.

  2. This is the first I have read of this particular tradition. Sounds lovely. Thanks for sharing this.

  3. Stan says:

    A friend and I were in Jocotopec (Chapala/Jalisco) around Christmas a couple of years ago, wandering around after dark. On a quiet street, we stumbled upon a big outdoor neighborhood celebration resembling a block party – lots of chairs,tables laden with food, and some fragrant smoking asaderos. Some of the gathered folks spotted us as we paused, watching, and invited us to join them. They insisted that we be the first served wonderful food which was just ready, along with cups of steaming ponche. One of my best Mexican memories…

  4. suk says:

    Debi, nice color new blog, I like it. Do u enjoy still your IPad, I love my new iPhone 4s. Camera works great. It is faster than my old one. I can't believe almost christmas, hope see u next year sometime. Love suk, miss Merida sunshine.

  5. Nice post…I'm writing one about the posada we went to in the North. Very different from what goes on in the neighborhood. Interesting definition for aguinaldo… we know it as the bonus you pay employees (mandated by the state) at the end of the year.

  6. Nancy says:

    Nice post, Debi! You should add it to our Posada blog hop, if you go to my blog a link with how to add it is at the bottom of my latest post. You'll want an image to upload for a badge… Saludos, Nancy

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