LAS POSADAS

Las Posadas commemorates the journey that Joseph and Mary made from Nazareth to Bethlehem in search of a safe refuge where
Mary could give birth to the baby Jesus. 
 

Nativity scene at the kiosko on Olvera Street,
El Publo de Los Angeles

Las Posadas History


Las Posadas commemorates the journey of Joseph and Mary from Nazareth to Bethlehem and their search for shelter in preparation for to Jesus’ birth.  

 

Las Posadas has been played out from December 16th to 24th in Mexico and other Latin American countries for centuries. 

 

Traditionally, participants will travel from house to house, as Joseph and Mary did in Bethlehem, only to be turned away. 

 

While the traveling carolers, representing Joseph and Mary, sing "Villancico Para Pedir Posada ("Searching for an Inn.") The people inside the house respond by singing the part of the innkeepers turning them away.

 

 The tradition began in he 16th century when Jesuit priests came to New Spain (Mexico) to convert the natives to Roman Catholicism. At the time, the natives celebrated a nine-day feast honoring the coming of an Aztec sun god. The missionaries adapted the nine-day framework to Christianity. 

  

If you would like to join us on Olvera Street in our procession, here is the song in Spanish which we use. 

Canción de Navidad
Christmas para pedir posada 
(Spanish)


Los Peregrinos…
En el nombre del cielo,
yo os pido posada,
pues no puede andar,
mi esposa amada.

Los Hosteleros… 
Aquí no es mesón,
sigan adelante,
no les puedo abrir,
no vaya a ser un tunante.

Los Peregrinos…
No sean inhumanos
Dennos caridad
Que el dios de los cielos
Se lo premiará.

Los Hosteleros… 
Ya se pueden ir,
y no molestar
Porque si me enfado
Los voy a apalear

Los Peregrinos…
Venimos rendidos
Desde Nazaret
Yo soy carpintero
De nombre José

Los Hosteleros… 
No me importa el nombre
Déjenme dormir
Pues yo ya les digo
Que no hemos de abrir

Los Peregrinos…
Posada le pido,
amado casero,
pues madre va a ser,
la reina del cielo

Los Hosteleros… 
Pues si es una reina,
quien lo solicita,
¿cómo es que de noche
anda tan solita?

Los Peregrinos…
Mi esposa es María
Reina del cielo
Y madre va a ser
Del divino verbo

Los Hosteleros… 
Eres tú José
Tu esposa es María
Entren peregrinos
No los conocía

Los Peregrinos…
Dios pague señores
Nuestra caridad
Y os colme el cielo
De felicidad

TODOS…
Dichosa la casa
Que abriga este día
A la virgen pura
La hermosa María.
Entren Santos Peregrinos,
Reciban este rincón,
que aunque es pobre la morada, 
os la doy de corazón.

Las Posadas song translated

 

The Pilgrims…
In the name of the heavens
I request lodging from you,
Because she cannot walk,
My beloved wife.

 

The Innkeepers…
This is not an inn,
Go on ahead
I cannot open up for you
In case you're a crook.

 

The Pilgrims…
Don't be cruel,
Give us charity
So the god in heaven
Will reward you.

 

The Innkeepers…
You can go now and
Don't bother us,
Because if I get upset
I'm going to beat you.

 

The Pilgrims…
We come tired
From Nazareth
I am a carpenter
Whose name is Joseph.

 

The Innkeepers…
Your name doesn't concern me
I'm going to sleep
Because I already told you
That we don't have to open up.

 

The Pilgrims…
I've asked you for lodging
Dear innkeeper
Because the mother is going to be
The queen of the heavens.

 

The Innkeepers…
Then if it is a queen
Who requests it
How is it that at nighttime
She's traveling so alone?

 

The Pilgrims…
My wife is Mary
Queen of the heavens
And she's going to be the mother
Of the divine oath.

 

The Innkeepers…
You are Joseph,
Your wife is Mary
Come in travelers!
I didn't recognize you.

 

The Pilgrims…
May God pay gentlemen,
For our charity
And may the heavens overwhelm you
With Happiness!

 

Everyone…
Happy is the house
That shelters today
The pure virgin,
The beautiful Mary.
Enter holy pilgrims
Receive this haven
That although it's a poor dwelling
I offer it to you from the heart.

On Olvera Street, Las Posadas is one of Los Angeles’ oldest Christmas events.  

 

“Seasonal entertainment” commences nightly at 5:30 pm, and will be played out for nine nights by the Olvera Street Merchants, from December 16 through Christmas Eve.  The event will feature a candlelight procession starting at the historic Avila Adobe at approximately 7 pm.  The leaders of the march, usually children, will be dressed as shepherds, angels, and Mary and Joseph.  They will be followed by dozens of other worshipers.  The public is invited to join in or merely observe. The procession will run up and down Olvera Street with the group singing songs in English and Spanish. They will make stops requesting lodging at designated points (“posadas,” or stores), but will be denied, usually in song.  Eventually, they will be admitted, complimentary champurrado (a Mexican hot beverage) and pan dulce (sweet bread) will be served, and piñatas will burst.  

Here is the traditional song of Mexico when hitting the pinata.

Dale, dale, dale,
No pierdas el tino,
Porque si lo pierdes
Pierdes el camino.

Ya le diste uno,
Ya le diste dos,
Ya le diste tres
Y tu tiempo se acabó.

English translation:

Hit, hit, hit,
Don’t lose your aim,
Because if you lose it,
You’ll lose the way.

You’ve hit it once,
You’ve hit it twice,
You’ve hit it thrice,
Now your time is up.

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© Ginette Rondeau,  1998 - 2019
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