CHRISTMAS POSADAS IN OAXACA
Among the most joyous fiestas for Oaxacans are the Posadas these allude to a Christian novenary to the Birth of Christ celebrated from December 16th to the 24th which is what we celebrate in modern times as the birth of Christ.
More than looking forward to receiving gifts, Oaxacans love these 9 nights full of joy, family time, special food & community bonding. For children multiple piñatas are broken, at least 3-5 each night and lots of fun with friends and relatives that come from distant regions to be together. For adults we value connecting with our community, family & assuring that our children keep & enjoy our roots.. If you are in Oaxaca during this time you will run into these parades as there are multiple ones each night from different neighborhoods and locals will invite you to join the fun if you are interested.
The Posadas begin after mass the evening of the 16th at all neighborhood or village churches, where the wooden colonial statues of Virgen Mary & Joseph are given in care to a family for them to parade thru their neighborhood or village streets and have the privilege of keeping them overnight in their homes..
So, once the Saints are blessed they lead out from the church with a congregation of dozens and at times hundreds that follow behind chanting as Mary & Joseph Biblically pilgrimed to Bethlehem… and since they didn’t have a place to stay, every night they asked someone for a Posada (a lodging).
Everyone carries a candle lit, sparkling lights and a paper with the chants written for all to sing along. Once the parade arrives to the host home, the Biblical chants will be exchanged by those in the parade arriving asking to be allowed in and those inside the home that ask who’s calling and after these chants, the hosts open their door welcoming with joy all pilgrims; as brass bands play and everyone enters.
Once all are seated and all is ready, piñatas will be brought out for the fun of all children and parents watching them dive to get all the candy, fruit and goodies once each piñata is broken, food & drinks are given to everyone, brass bands enliven the fiesta, giants will dance and fireworks will be exploding… for several hours of fun … before all go home for the host family to rest for the evening.
The following evening, all arrive to the same home where the parade leads out to another host home and thus every night to a different home until the 24th when the Baby Christ is added to the parade as it’s the Birth day and the parade ends at the church where the statues are received by the priest and a mass is held to celebrate the Nativity.
At the end of the mass, the baby Christ is taken outside the church patio where at the rhythm of brass bands women evoking Virgen Mary dance with the Child in their arms passing It from hand to hand rejoicing the Birth! … Finally, everyone goes home to enjoy a traditional midnight special family.
“Christmas posadas in Oaxaca” by Florencio Moreno.