Las Posadas is a Christmas festival celebrated in Latin America, especially Mexico, and in Hispanic communities in the United States. The name is Spanish for “the Inns.” The festival is celebrated for nine nights, beginning on December 16 and ending on Christmas Eve.

Las Posadas recalls the journey Joseph and Mary made to Bethlehem before the birth of Jesus Christ. When they arrived in Bethlehem, they could not find a room at an inn. Mary and Joseph were forced to stay in a stable, where Jesus was born.

Celebration

Each night of Las Posadas begins with a procession of children. They are dressed as angels, shepherds, the Three Kings, Mary, and Joseph. They often carry lit candles and images of Mary and Joseph. Adults, including musicians, follow the children. The procession goes from place to place asking if there is room for them to stay. The hosts say “no” but often provide refreshments.

Participants sing songs and read passages from the Bible. The procession is finally allowed entry at the last house, where there is a piñata filled with candy and toys. The piñata, usually in the shape of a star, is broken open by the children. The same process occurs every night except for the last night. The posada on the 24th is the most festive and is followed by the midnight Christmas Mass.

History

Las Posadas has been a part of Mexican culture for hundreds of years. The tradition began in the 1500s when Spanish missionaries brought a nine-day religious Christmas pageant to the native population in Mexico. It eventually took the form of Las Posadas as it is celebrated today.

Las Posadas is an important Mexican tradition during the holidays, complete with prayer, music, food, and piñatas.

The Posadas piñatas are often in the shape of seven-pointed stars. The children put on blindfolds and take turns hitting the suspended piñata with a stick. When it breaks and the contents spill out, everyone rushes in to collect the goodies!

Always a children’s favorite, colorful piñatas now play a fun part in many celebrations. Modern piñatas come in a variety of shapes ranging – from animals to cartoon characters – and can be found throughout the world!

Want to join in on this tradition? Make your own piñata with the guide below!

Feliz Navidad (Merry Christmas), fromMexico! 

Make Your Own Piñata

1.Find a small paper box – this will be the basic shape of your piñata.

2.  Using brightly colored paper, decorate the outside of the box with fringe, tassels, and other festive touches! You can get creative and use anything from crepe paper garland to patterned cupcake liners.

3.  When the box is covered in paper, create a main hole where you can fill the pinata with candy or toys.  Then, fill it up!

4.  Punch two small holes on either side of the main hole. Tie a string or ribbon to the holes to create a loop. This is how you’ll hang the piñata.

5.  First test the piñata’s weight by hanging it up while filled with candy or toys and adjust the filling as necessary so the hanging loop can support it. Then, let loose and have fun getting your treats out!

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Britannica Kids

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