Today marks the beginning of the Posadas festivals in Mexico. Celebrated during the nine days leading up to Christmas, these are perhaps the most colorful ‘fiestas’ in Mexico because of the variety of elements they include. From the festive decor, to the religious traditions, to the breaking of piñatas, and of course, the lavish meals—there is just so much to see and do during this celebration!
Every family celebrates Posadas with their own special touch. My family’s Posada party is usually very traditional. We gather in the house of one of our family members. The house is decorated for the occasion including a Christmas tree and Nacimiento (a Nativity scene), and each of the women of the family brings a dish, which we all share at the dinner.
The Posada ceremony begins with all of the guests stepping out of the house, while the host stays inside. We walk the neighborhood singing typical Posada songs, which represent the journey of Joseph and Mary seeking a place to stay overnight. This “pilgrimage” ends at the hosts’ front door, who after exchanging chants with us welcomes everyone in the house and invites us to a dinner with typical Mexican dishes like pozole, tamales, rajas de chile, atole and buñuelos.
After dinner we gather for breaking of the famous piñata. This is probably the most well known of the Posada customs and is my favorite part! According to ritual, each person is blindfolded, and then is asked to hit the piñata, while being cheered on by family. This practice represents the Catholic belief that people must act in blind faith and follow God in the fight against sin (represented by the piñata). And when they overcome sin they are blessed with God’s grace (the candy). Traditionally, the piñata has 7 points that correspond with the 7 deadly sins recognized in Catholicism.
If you visit Capella Ixtapa before Christmas, we’d love to invite you to our Posada celebrations. It is an excellent opportunity to become part of Mexican traditions.