What Exactly is "Las Posadas"? Chatting with Father James
Posted: Apr 22 2014
We are excited to have the opportunity to discuss “Las Posadas” with Father James Farfaglia, pastor for Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Corpus Christi, Texas. Father James spent 6 years living in Mexico as a missionary, speaks fluent Spanish, and counts many Hispanics among his parishioners.
Q. Father James, can you tell us – what exactly is “Las Posadas”? What is its significance?
A. Las Posadas was brought to Mexico by Spanish missionaries in the 1500s. The Spanish missionaries wanted to teach the people in Mexico about the meaning of Christmas. That’s why the real essential purpose of the Posada wasn’t just to be a big Christmas party, but it was also originally intended to be a teaching framework. It commemorates the journey of Mary and Joseph who were looking for a place to give birth to the baby Jesus.
Q.I heard the term "Las Posadas” growing up in South Texas, my family is Hispanic, but we didn’t celebrate this or even know what it was. Is this the case a lot? Do many Hispanics celebrate Las Posadas?
A. The Posada is pretty popular in Texas among those of Mexican descent, usually that population born in Mexico. Among Hispanics born in the U.S., the Las Posadascelebration is much less popular.
Also, from my understanding Las Posadas is still very big in Mexico, and I understand it also does takes place in some other Latin American countries. Different regions of Mexico have different traditions regarding the Posadas in terms of how unique the festivities are.
Q. What Happens during Las Posadas?
A. “Posada” means “dwelling” or “inn”. A parish or individuals in a neighborhood may sponsor the posada.
First, the participants will gather and say either the whole rosary or a decade of the rosary . Then the group proceeds thru the neighborhood with candles. The procession is led with a manger scene, or it can become elaborate where people dress up as biblical characters and lead a donkey. Normally the group visits three houses where the Posada will not take place. The group on the outside of the house will sing thePosada song, and then there is a group inside the house who will say – the Posada is not here. Finally there is a fourth house where thePosada will take place. If there is a priest or deacon involved – prayers are said. The music changes – and the group inside the house says the Posada is here. A blessing of the house may take place, and then there is a meal. The food depends on what the family wants to offer – and usually what’s pretty typical is food such as: tamales, pozole, menudo, and always desserts. Finally, there is a piñata for the kids. The Posada occurs for nine days on nine consecutive nights. It’s part of what is the Novena in preparation for Christmas. The last Posada occurs on December 24th. Many participants go to midnight mass following.
Q. Tell us about the Posada celebrated in Corpus Christi at your church.
A. Last year was the first year we did the Posada for nine nights in a row (we hadn’t done the full Posada before in years!). People were really happy to see the tradition restored. Hispanic culture is rooted in Catholicism, and there are rich traditions there; via the American system – many things may get lost in the traditions of American culture. It’s important that when people come to this country they keep maintain their cultural roots. Hispanic culture is a rich culture, a beautiful culture.This year we will again be doing the Posada for nine nights. We are gathering from December 16th-24th at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish and following a mass will start the Posada. Last year we had as many as a 100-120 people participating in ourPosada each night. I think this year it will be even more popular!
To learn more about Father James Farfaglia visit his website www.fatherjames.org
540 Hiawatha Street
Corpus Christi, Texas 78405