One of the many Mexican Christmas traditions I’m missing while back in the US this year is the posada. The season of posadas began on Friday, December 16th– nine days before Christmas. When we lived in Mexico City, this marked both a time of holiday joy & grinchy anger, because of the sharp uptick in traffic (even worse than normal!). My friends told me the reason traffic got SOOOO bad was due to all the chilangos driving to posadas after work each night, as well as shopping for last-minute Christmas presents. Unfortunately my social calendar never had nine days of parties in a row, but I did get to experience at least one authentic posada thanks to my MBA classmates!
We arrived at Grace & Lalo’s house to discover a well-dressed dog, which I took as a sign that this would be a successful night:
They had their own outdoor patio heater, which was both awesomely warm & perfect for lighting sparklers on:
And most impressively, they were even prepared with posada instructional booklets!
These were important, because a key part of the posada is reliving Mary & Joseph’s experience trying to find shelter in Bethlehem. You set up half the party attendees outside pretending to be a very pregnant Mary & tired Joseph, and the other half stays inside telling M&J to go away & not bother them. FINALLY Joseph explains how he has the mother of our savior with him & then the jerks inside are like “Oh! Our bad! We didn’t know! In that case, come on in!”
Once Mary & Joseph are let inside the house, then the party gets started with some singing, a good old fashioned piñata, food and drink. I was pleased to see that much like the Lutheran church, no celebration is complete without the opportunity to burn you & those around you with small candles while singing:
Finally, the time for the piñata arrived. I took endless pleasure in watching the careful, laborious piñata set up. I will confess to the fact that my motto of life in Mexico (“What could go wrong?”) flashed through my mind more than once…
To get a full visual of the piñata setup as well as hear a preview of the piñata-smashing theme song, you can check out this incredibly-dark video shot right before the first piñata contender made their way up to the plate:
Finally, it was my turn!!
After the piñata excitement died down, we headed back to Grace’s deck and continued eating & drinking. The fan-favorite drink at any posada is ponche. It’s kind of the Mexican version of hot apple cider here in the US, but better (added alcohol optional but recommended). Check out some excellent recipes courtesy Maura, Silvia, and Lesley.
It looks like we may miss the boat on hosting a posada this year here in Arlington, VA, but hope springs eternal for next year. Though I really need to work on mastering the lyrics to the piñata song.
Is anyone out there holding their own posada this week?? Would anyone like to bring over some tamales & ponche and we can have a quick posada, just the two of us? In the interim, here’s to all my GMBA classmates who made our first & only posada so much fun! Check out more posada blog posts below…
Disclosure: I am being compensated for my work in creating content as a Contributor for the México Today Program. All stories, opinions and passion for all things México shared in my blog are completely my own.