Las Posadas tradition continues in El Paso. What is it exactly?

El Paso News

Borderland families continue the tradition of Las Posadas that was started hundreds of years ago in Mexico.

From songs to the piñata, it all has a meaning and borderland families continue to pass that tradition to the next generation.

Groups re-enact the biblical story of Mary and Joseph’s journey in search of shelter in Bethlehem.

“They were looking for a place to stay but there was a big influx of immigrants and nobody could receive them,” said Fr. Mariano Lopez at St. Charles Seminary.

During these nightly Posadas leading up to Christmas, groups including the Melendez family visit a series of homes asking for shelter.

People inside the houses will sing back saying they don’t have room.

“The melody is really beautiful but if you listen to the lyrics they are harsh,” said Lopez “to go away, to let them sleep, that if they don’t leave they’re even going to beat them.”

The last house the group arrives at finally welcomes them in, which is symbolic of letting Jesus into your heart, Lopez said. After the prayer a party begins.

“Finally people receive him in their hearts and that’s why there is a big celebration that includes the piñata,” said Lopez.

One of the most recognizable symbols in a Posada is the piñata. The traditional Posada piñata features seven points representing the seven deadly sins.

“The bright colors are supposed to represent temptations. The piñata itself is suppose to represent evil so the colors are used to hide the evil,” said Olga Melendez at Olga’s Piñatas.

Olga’s Piñata, who sells dozens of piñatas during this time of year, says participants are usually blindfolded.

“The blindfold is suppose to represent your faith,” said Melendez.

The stick represents virtue.

“You want to overcome evil so by hitting it, you’re breaking the evil and destroying it,” said Melendez.

“It’s so beautiful to know that we’re passing on the tradition to the children but also that we’re celebrating and that we’re joyful. Because a lot of times we don’t have time for that anymore. We’re so busy working and running from one place to the other,” said Lopez.

Traditionally Posadas are every night for nine days starting on December 16 leading up to Christmas Day.

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