Holidays in Houston :: Posadas

Holidays in Houston

Posadas

A large part of what has shaped my life and makes me who I am, as well as what I want my children to learn about my culture, comes from traditions built around the holidays. They are centered not only on my religious background, but mainly around my cultural upbringing. I come from a very traditional, very large Catholic Mexican family on my father’s side. Not only are our holidays filled with a lot of food, but also with a lot of family or just cheerful people who want to share the moment with us!

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December is always a great month for me. It takes me back to my childhood and reminds me of how I grew up. My siblings and I would beg my parents to take us to Mexico as soon as our Christmas break began because we didn’t want to miss a single Posada, and we would travel from Houston to just south of the border to a city called Reynosa.

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Posadas are celebrated every night for 9 nights from December 16th to December 24th in order to honor and ‘reenact’ the pilgrimage of the Virgin Mary and Joseph which led to the birth of baby Jesus or El Nino Dios. It’s a beautiful reminder for us as Christians of the suffering that brought forth a great miracle, Jesus. We would visit a new home every night for 9 nights as a symbolic way to represent the Virgin Mary’s 9 months of pregnancy, and we prayed the rosary every night. We carried ceramic figures of the Virgin Mary and Joseph, and the home usually had a nativity scene set up or a Christmas tree under which we would leave Mary and Joseph to spend the night. The evening always started with a musical type reenactment of Mary and Joseph’s pilgrimage to every home as they plead that the home owners would allow them in and provide even a small little corner to stay the night. We sung back and forth through a closed door.

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After the home owner accepted us into their home, we would proceed inside and begin praying. My grandmother, who passed away when I was 13, would pray for what seemed like hours, but those prayers, now looking back, were filled with joy and life. We sang and lit luces de bengala {or sparkle light thingies – ha!}. We kneeled and lit a candle for every misterio {or rosary mystery} being prayed.  After we prayed, we sang some more and then had dinner. Dinner usually included tamales and atole {a hot corn based drink} or tostadas and hot chocolate. The kids would get bolsitas {candy bags} usually filled with hard shell peanuts and an orange or mandarin as well as Mexican candy. Then we would break a  pinata, filled with…yes, more candy. It was a night filled with faith and rich Mexican traditions, as well as lasting childhood memories.

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Here in Houston it’s been a bit difficult to find a group that will do this similar celebration for 9 nights, but as my children get older, I am determined to seek out a group and do this every night for 9 nights during the Christmas holidays. I know that most Catholic churches have posadas or provide some version of this celebration, so I look for these each year.  For now, another big celebration that we have followed through with for the last 4 years is celebrating el Dia de la Virgen de Gualdalupe {The Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe}. My children dress in traditional Mexican ‘Indian’ wear, or as a ‘Juan Diego’ and a ‘Maria.’ It is in these traditions that I am rooting my culture and life into that of  my children’s lives.  I want them to know who we are as a family  and who they will become.

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I would love to know – how do you incorporate your culture into your holiday celebrations?  Anyone else participate in posadas??  Comment below!

Reminder :: If you are looking for a way to stay organized and connected this holiday season and beyond, be sure to check out Living Tree.  They are an amazing online platform created by parents for parents to simplify communication and coordination between all the people participating in our daily lives and our children’s development, and we are so grateful to them for sponsoring our ‘Holidays in Houston’ series.  Check them out and sign up for FREE today!

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2 Responses to Holidays in Houston :: Posadas

  1. Avatar
    Kelly D December 9, 2013 at 2:35 pm #

    What a beautiful tradition, Connie! I am sure this will be a special memory for your little ones too!!

  2. Avatar
    Susan December 18, 2013 at 2:09 pm #

    Hello! I found this entry searching for a place to attend at least one night of the posadas. Back in 2010, Sacred Heart Church in Conroe did all 9 nights, and we were fortunate to participate! The past couple of years, I do not believe they have done them anymore.

    Our church does only one as part of religious education. (We do a large Our Lady of Guadalupe celebration though!)

    Good luck finding a place!

    Merry Christmas!

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