Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Las Posadas En Mi Familia

In 1994, as a college student, I applied to obtain my non-identifying background information. (I am adopted, and had never known anything about my birth parents.) I wanted to know, among other things, my ethnicity.

I found out I was not Mexican. I had kind of suspected this, considering how much trouble I had had in high school Spanish class.

According to the paperwork, I am half Irish, a quarter Scottish, and a quarter German. This is a bit of a bummer, compared to being Mexican. Mexican food is WAY better than Irish food. Though I do like potatoes. And beer. And Irish pubs. And the color green. And leprechauns. But I digress. My original topic (unbeknownst to you) is Las Posadas.

Had I been Mexican, I would have found out about Las Posadas long before now. Well, maybe not, because Las Posadas isn't just Mexican, it's Catholic. And it took me a lot of years to get back around to my Catholic roots. (As it turns out, my one-hundred-percent Irish birth father was also Catholic.)

This year, I heard about Las Posadas three times! First, at a field trip with other Catholic homeschooling families. They were discussing Las Posadas and staging it at a farm so we could use live animals for the Nativity scene. They also mentioned having a LOT of Mexican food afterward and I wasn't sure how a live Nativity and homemade tamales all fit together.

Shortly after, I learned more in a catechist training session I attended at church. There, several actual Mexicans described how they celebrate Las Posadas. The picture was becoming clearer. Evidently, Las Posadas is a nine-day event, culminating on Christmas Eve, wherein groups of people (family, friends...) sort of reenact the events leading up to Jesus' birth. There will be a procession of some sort, and the visiting of several homes, each of which will turn away the "Mary" and "Joseph". But there is singing. And food. And prayer. And often a pinata. You can read about it from a more reliable source than an Irish/Scottish/German girl here.

The third time I heard about Las Posadas was the best time, because it was my friend Michelle inviting my family to join in her family's celebration of Las Posadas at her home. We did, and it was a great time. There was a procession. Singing. Children dressed as Mary, Joseph, an angel, and a shepherd. Knocking on doors and being turned away. Finally, a place to stay thanks to a kind innkeeper. And then we ate tamales! With some recognition for American diversity, and Michelle's own half-Mexican, half-Irish heritage - we also had chocolate martinis, a chocolate fountain, and a pinata shaped like a ghost (because Halloween pinatas are discounted in December!). It was a very fun evening, no less so because I'm not Mexican. I'm glad I have good friends who are!


Andrea said...

sounds like a great time! I wonder what ever happened to doing the live animals staging? I never heard about it after that! Anyway, its a lovely tradition! Sounds like you had an amazing time.

littlecbsmom said...

Sounds like a great and very meaningful time was had by all! However, I too am shocked to find out you are not Mexican, I mean who would of thought?

Katie and Mark said...

When I was young and we lived in New Mexico, we celebrated Las Posadas. We performed it for our school's Christmas pageant. :) We also performed it in Spanish. I wish I had retained all that Spanish I had learned. It would have come in handy. Anyway, in Mark's family, we celebrate on Christmas Eve. with Mexican food. Although most of the Mexican tradition has been lost, this is still a small part that remains.

I am Irish Scottish and French Italian. I'm a mutt. :)