Los Peregrinos, San José y la Virgen María more commonly known as Las Posadas is a reenactment of Joseph and Mary's journey to Bethlehem to be counted in the Census just prior to the birth of Jesus. These celebrations are a "Novena" or nine days of prayer starting on the 16th of December and finishing on the 24th which is the Noche Buena (Holy Night).
Each night at dusk during this period all the guests gather outside the house. Usually a small child dressed as an angel leads, followed by someone dressed as pregnant Mary on a donkey with Joseph by her side. Following are the participants, Los Peregrinos (Pilgrims) and musicians who sing songs as they process through the neighborhood carrying their lit candles. The hosts of the home are the innkeepers, and the peregrinos request lodging by singing a simple song "Para Pedir Posada", sung back and forth between the two parties asking to enter with the innkeeper refusing. CLICK HERE to hear song
The group will ask for lodging at three different houses but only the third one will allow them to enter. That will be the house that will host the party for that evening. Once the innkeepers let them in, the group of guests comes into the home and kneels around the Nativity scene to pray the Rosary and then the fun begins.
Guests feast on tamales, pan dulce, buñuelos, Mexican hot chocolate, champurrado and ponche with a little rum added for the adults. It's a great family tradition that has carried on through the years.
Artwork: The Posadas (Las posadas) by Carmen Lomas Garz