A manifestation of popular piety in Mexican and Mexican-American communities in the U.S., celebrated between December 16 and Christmas Eve, Las Posadas comprise a festive procession whereby participants go from home to home singing carols, reenacting the journey of Mary and Joseph in search for lodging (posada ). Participants play the various roles of Joseph and Mary, innkeepers, choir, and onlookers. At the first two homes, the participants are rejected, but at the third home, they enter and the fiesta of welcome begins. At the final house, the choir sings the same song of petition, but this time the innkeepers welcome them singing an additional verse of welcome. Each evening ends in a celebration, the final night usually a large fiesta hosted at the local parish church. The celebration generally consists of prayers and singing with refreshments of hot chocolate and sweet bread (pan dulce ) for everyone. Blindedfolded children also attempt to hit a suspended, paper maché piñata, usually in the form of a star or animal and filled with candies that are released when the piñata breaks.
One tradition attributes the origins of Las Posadas to Spaniard Brother Pedro de San José Bentacur, a Third-Order Franciscan who settled in Guatemala. Historically, Spanish missionaries used Las Posadas as a catechetical device for explaining the Christmas story to the indigenous people. Among Mexican-American communities, the celebration of Las Posadas reminds immigrant families of their own journeys and experiences of rejection and welcome.
Bibliography: m. arias, m. r. francis, and a. j. pÉrezrodriguez, La Navidad Hispana at Home and at Church (Chicago 2000). s. brandes, "The Posadas in Tzinzuntzan: Structure and Sentiment in a Mexican Christmas Festival," American Folklore 96 (1983) 259–280. a. pÉrez, Popular Catholicism: A Hispanic Perspective (Washington, D.C. 1988). s. verti, El libro clasico de la Navidad en Mexico: costumbres y tradiciones de nuestro pueblo (Mexico 1998). Faith Expressions of Hispanics in the Southwest, rev. ed. (San Antonio 1990).
"Posadas." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (September 21, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/posadas
"Posadas." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . Retrieved September 21, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/posadas
Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).
Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.
Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:
Modern Language Association
The Chicago Manual of Style
American Psychological Association
- Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
- In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.