Las Posadas ~ A Search for Shelter

Colleen Coulter

Colleen Coulter
November 29, 2016

     Las Posadas is a 400 year old, nine day celebration, originating in Spain, though it now happens mostly in Mexico, Guatemala and parts of the USA. The celebration begins on December 16 and ends on December 24 – (nine days relates to nine months of pregnancy). Generally, the celebration is an evening event. Its roots are in Catholicism but Protestant Latinos follow Las Posadas.

     Las Posadas translates into English as “the inns” or “the lodgings”, and symbolizes the Biblical journey of Mary & Joseph as they searched for shelter in Bethlehem, before the birth of Jesus.

     The tradition follows that a procession leader carries a candle lampshade. They arrive at a house (posada) and the resident sings a song.  Mary and Joseph are recognized, and are allowed to enter the house. The guests enter the home and, kneeling around a Nativity scene, they pray.  All nine nights follow this tradition. People may dress as Mary and Joseph, children carry poinsettias, carols are sung and a piñata is broken open – with candies for all.

     Las Posadas – Knox style – involves the Holy Family, a trio of Mary, Joseph, and Pedro*, the donkey, who are scheduled to visit nine homes from December 16 to December 24.  Each hosting family is encouraged to celebrate in the evening, perhaps with friends or family.  The trio might have a special seat at the table, or be included in events with the family. They have been to birthday parties, concerts, a classroom, and many family evenings of just relaxing in the living room together. Photos might be taken and before delivering the Holy Family to the next home, the family may write in the journal about their time together.

On December 24, Mary, Joseph, and Pedro will arrive back at Knox, for Christmas Eve.

 Special notes for families hosting Mary, Joseph and Pedro:

    No special diet is required – just love and a welcoming home

     Delivery to the next “posada” must be accomplished to ensure the journey continues over nine days


* Pedro prefers to sleep in the house, rather than in the yard or doghouse!  He is house trained.