Culture

Parishioners reenact Holy Family's fateful journey

Las Posadas is a nine-night series of processions given in the Ranchos de Taos area

By Virginia L. Clark
tempo@taosnews.com
Posted 12/11/19

Get out the mittens, mufflers and mukluks starting Monday evening (Dec. 16) and head to Las Posadas, nine nights of processions honoring the nine months of Baby Jesus in Mother Mary's womb and the birth, ending with midnight mass Christmas Eve (Dec. 24).

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Culture

Parishioners reenact Holy Family's fateful journey

Las Posadas is a nine-night series of processions given in the Ranchos de Taos area

Posted

Get out the mittens, mufflers and mukluks starting Monday evening (Dec. 16) and head to Las Posadas, nine nights of processions honoring the nine months of Baby Jesus in Mother Mary's womb and the birth, ending with midnight mass Christmas Eve (Dec. 24).

According to an announcement by San Francisco de Asís parish, this nine-day tradition is one of the most popular Christmas traditions in Northern New Mexico.

"The ritual has been a tradition in Mexico for over 400 years," the press release states. "Many Mexican holidays include dramatizations of original events, a tradition which has its roots in the ritual of Bible plays, used to teach the scriptures to a largely illiterate population in Europe as early as the 10th and 11th centuries."

Posada is the Spanish word for "lodging." In Taos, Las Posadas is an annual enactment performed mostly by Catholics, nine days before Christmas, telling of Joseph and Mary's difficulties finding shelter for the birth of Baby Jesus.

The posadistas suffer insults and rebuffs the first eight nights of knocking on doors, asking for for lodging. Posaderos - the innkeepers - soundly reject them, saying things like, "Aquí no es mesón - sigan adelante!" ("This is not an inn here - keep going!")"Yo no debo abrir - no sea algún tunante!" ("I must not open - don't be some prickly pear!")

Finally, on Christmas Eve, they arrive at la posada offering shelter and food. The posadero sings, "¿Eres tú, José? ¿Tu esposa es María? Entren, peregrinos, no los conocía." ("Are you Joseph? Your wife is Mary? Come in, pilgrims. I didn't recognize you.")

Frequently, businesses and residents along the route decorate with farolitos, lighting the way, and offering posadistas prayer and traditional foods of tamales and biscochitos. Afterward, all the people walking las posadas go inside and share a feast of posole, beans, enchiladas, biscochitos, hot chocolate and more.

Cindy Jeantete of the San Francisco de Asís parish office, said the first posada on Monday (Dec. 16) at 5:30 p.m. is sponsored by the San Francisco de Asís Youth Group, in Ranchos Plaza Grill next to the historic church. Tuesday (Dec. 17) at 5:30 p.m., it is sponsored by the Guadalupanas ladies group in Deacon Pat Parish Hall, next to the church. "Just follow the procession to get to the hall," Jeantete said.

The sixth posada on Thursday (Dec. 19) is at San Isidro Church, located in Los Córdovas on State Road 240. "People will be walking across the [State Road 240] to the home of Feloníz Trujillo," Jeantete said, so posadistas and drivers take great care.

The eighth posada takes place in Llano Quemado, at Our Lady of Mount Carmel (less than a mile off State Road 68, east on Old State Highway 382).

The last posada, Dec. 24, concludes with the Midnight Mass and is followed by another Christmas Day Mass at 10 a.m., both at San Francisco de Asís Church. So dress warmly and enjoy!

Besides the posadas organized by local churches, others are organized in private homes. To find out about possible private Las Posadas locations not listed here, contact San Francisco de Asís Church office, at 60 St. Francis Plaza, (575) 758-2754..

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