Traveler’s Advent Calendar: The Posadas of Mexico

Mexico is one of the most culturally rich countries in the world. It has an incredible historical and archeological legacy, with jewels like Teotihuacan, where it is said that men become gods; or Chichen Itza, which besides being the most visited Mayan ruin, is one of the seven wonders of the modern world. Some of Mexico’s cities have been declared World Heritage Sites, such as San Miguel de Allende; and how am I going to forget the incredible beaches of fine sand and crystal clear water.

chichen-itza en una noche estrellada

Travelling to Mexico is not only visiting some of these places, it is also learning and soaking up their customs and traditions, including the one I’m going to tell you today: the Mexican posadas.

The Mexican Posadas

This pre-Christmas celebration lasts nine days, from 16 to 24 December. Every night, people leave their homes and “go on pilgrimage” through their neighborhood or village, remembering the journey that Joseph and Mary made from Nazareth to Jerusalem. After a walk, they will knock on a neighbor’s door and ask them to sing their posada, that is, they will ask their neighbor to let them come and rest at home.

The “posaderos”, who are the neighbors inside the house, also sing to respond: first they will tell them that they are not going to open the door and to leave, but after a couple of stanzas, they realize that they are Mary and Joseph; and then they let them pass while they sing “entre santos y peregrinos, peregrinos reciban este rincón. And though the dwelling is poor, I give you the dwelling from my heart. (Here you can read the song with all its stanzas).

The interior of the house is decorated with paper lanterns, candles, flares, music and a piñata. Some houses also offer warm Mexican punch and some typical food items. When everyone is inside the house, they socialize together and then hit the piñata until it opens and drops fruits, peanuts, chocolate coins, cookies and other things, which are shared among everyone.

piñata mexicana

bengalas de luz

The Mexican posadas is one of the most beautiful Christmas traditions that exist, because besides involving food, drink and sweets are also a way to celebrate Christmas with your neighbors and friends. That feeling of sharing and being part of a community is surely the true meaning of these festivities.

This is the sixteenth gateway to the Traveler’s Advent Calendar from The Travel Blog. Today we have seen nothing more and nothing less than Mexico and we have seen its local inhabitants celebrating the posadas with their traditional piñata and dialogues in the form of a song. From now on, if you notice that one of your neighbors is singing to your doormat, open the door and give him an inn and some quesadillas!