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Miniature Nativity scene
Miniature Nativity scene

Las Posadas: A Theatrical Christmas Celebration

December 07, 2018

As early as the 10th century, dramatic enactments of biblical stories were used to share the teachings of the Church with illiterate European populations. When European colonizers arrived in Mexico six hundred years later, they brought this theatrical tradition with them, and though the vast majority of people in Mexico today can read and write, the tradition lives on in the annual performance of Las Posadas. Spanish for “lodgings,” Las Posadas is a nine-day festival that runs from December 16 – 24. Each day participants reenact the journey of Mary and Joseph, who searched for lodgings in Bethlehem, eventually settling into a manger for the birth of Christ. The reenactment sometimes features actual persons in the roles of Joseph and Mary, with the latter riding a donkey, sometimes just images of the holy couple held by members of the procession. The procession itself stops at various homes (the “inns” of the story) and often concludes at a church.

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