‘Las Posadas,’ caroling provide holiday cheer

by Viviana Rodriguez

photo taken by Kia Harlan

Staying true to traditions, students celebrate Las Posadas and participate in caroling, bringing their communities together during the holidays.

Las Posadas, or “the inns,” includes nine days of religious observance where a community gathers Dec. 16-24. Each night, a family agrees to accommodate a group of people. The group that represents the Holy Family, the pregnant Virgin Mary and Joseph from biblical times who looked for somewhere to stay in Bethlehem before the birth of Jesus, stands outside a series of houses to sing songs and ask for shelter.

The family is refused entry until they reach the designated house, where they are permitted to enter. Prayers and songs continue until the festive foods are shared and the night ends with the breaking of a star-shaped piñata.

The ceremony is celebrated by Hispanics primarily in Latin America, Guatemala, Cuba, Mexico and the United States. It commemorates the nine months of Mary’s pregnancy and originated in Spain, but it has been a yearly celebration throughout Mexico for 400 years.

“We have been hosting Posadas for 10 years; this year will be our eleventh. We come together and put aside our differences in order to enjoy time with our neighbors,” said junior Mariana Rubio. “Posadas is a way to keep our traditions alive and a way for me to remember the time I spent in Guatemala as a kid during the holidays.”

Another popular holiday activity students enjoy being involved in is caroling, which allows people to share the holiday spirit through music.

The tradition of caroling dates back to the 19th century, but did not always involve Christmas. The two traditions of singing carols and visiting first evolved in England. At this time, church carols began to merge with Christian folk music. Today, carols are sung regularly at Christian religious services; however, during the holidays, people enjoy going door to door singing carols.

“On Christmas Eve every year, my family and I go Christmas caroling to our neighbors, friends and close relatives’ houses. Afterwards, we go to my aunt’s house for a Christmas Eve party,” said senior Karina Ruiz.

Caroling also brings families and communities together.

“During the year, my relatives and my family do not see much of each other because we all have busy schedules. This holiday gives us a chance to come together and simply have an enjoyable time with each other,” said Ruiz.

During the holiday season, Las Posadas and caroling help unify the community while spreading holiday spirit.

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