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Las Posadas

An Advent tradition in Guatemala shared by Sr. Evie Vazquez, icm

The “POSADAS” in Guatemala is actually a tradition of going from house to house at night with the images of Mary and Joseph, delicately decorated in an "Anda" (a type of carriage), supported by two pieces of wood carried on the shoulders by two persons, be they children, youth or adults.  


This gesture reminds us of Mary and Joseph going to Bethlehem for the census and not being able to find a place to stay.

welcome mary joseph

Thus "Posada" in Spanish means the welcoming of Mary and Joseph in their homes.  All families desire Joseph and Mary to come and stay in their homes during Advent.  They start walking from house to house twelve days before Christmas.  Others start earlier to cover more homes, be it in the rural mountain areas or in the urban cities.   As they walk carrying the images of Joseph and Mary, there is singing, burning of firecrackers and fireworks.  


Upon arriving at the door of a house, the group sings asking for a place to stay.  Inside another group answers them, also singing, saying that there is no room.  This continues until the group outside sings that it is Mary and Joseph.  Then they are finally let in.  With great rejoicing the group go inside and a prayer service begins, be it the Celebration of the Word or any other meditation proper to the Advent season.

After the prayer, all are served a "Tamal" (a Guatemalan delicacy

tamal 1

made of corn meal and filled with meat, wrapped in banana leaf.  Click here for the recipe.) and a fruit punch.  While everybody enjoys this festive food Christmas music is played until it is time to bid farewell. The group leaves the "Anda" for the family to take to another home the following night.

tamal 2
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