Celebrating Las Posadas: A Mexican Tradition that Continues on Nochevieja


In Mexico, the Christmas season lasts from December 16 to January 6 and is known as the Guadalupe-Reyes Marathon. One of the most important events during this period is the celebration of Las Posadas, which reenacts Mary and Joseph's search for lodging in Bethlehem. However, Las Posadas is not just a single night; it consists of nine nights of processions, prayers, and pi?atas. Interestingly, Las Posadas ends on December 24, which is also Nochebuena, the night before Christmas. But does that mean that Las Posadas is over? Not quite. In this blog post, we'll explore the connections between Las Posadas and Nochevieja, the New Year's Eve celebration, and how Mexicans continue to observe this wonderful tradition.

Part 1: The History and Meaning of Las Posadas\

Las Posadas is a centuries-old tradition that originated in Spain and was later brought to Mexico by the Spanish colonizers. It is a religious procession that symbolizes the search for shelter that Mary and Joseph experienced before the birth of Jesus. During the nine nights, a group of people, often children, sing and carry candles as they go from house to house, asking for lodging. The homeowners may refuse at first, but eventually, they open their doors and invite the procession in. Inside, everyone prays, sings carols, and breaks a pi?ata. The pi?ata is shaped like a star with seven points, each representing one of the deadly sins. By breaking it, the participants show their rejection of sin and their commitment to God.

Las Posadas is not only a religious event but also a social one that brings families and communities together. It is a time to share food, drink, and good cheer. For children, it's a chance to dress up, have fun, and receive gifts. Overall, Las Posadas is a beautiful celebration that reflects the Mexican culture's values of faith, hospitality, and community.

Part 2: The Transition from Las Posadas to Nochevieja\

As mentioned earlier, Las Posadas ends on December 24, which is Nochebuena, or Christmas Eve. This is the day when Mexicans traditionally have dinner with their families and exchange gifts. But what about the following days? Do they still celebrate Las Posadas? Well, not exactly.

While Las Posadas is a unique and cherished tradition, it's not practical to observe it every night for nine nights. Therefore, Mexicans tend to transition from Las Posadas to Nochevieja as a way of continuing the festive spirit. Nochevieja, or New Year's Eve, is a secular holiday that is celebrated all over the world. In Mexico, it's a time to gather with friends and family, share a meal, and party until midnight.

But there's more to it than that. Nochevieja has some elements that connect it to Las Posadas and, by extension, to the Christmas season. For example, some people still sing villancicos, or Christmas carols, on Nochevieja. Others may set up a nativity scene or light candles, as they would during Las Posadas. There's also the tradition of eating 12 grapes at midnight, one for each toll of the clock. This custom originated in Spain but has been adopted by many Latin American countries, including Mexico. By eating the grapes, people hope to bring good luck and prosperity for the new year.

Part 3: The Continuity of Mexican Traditions\

In conclusion, Las Posadas may officially end on December 24, but its spirit lives on throughout the Christmas season and beyond. Nochevieja is just one example of how Mexicans combine religious and secular elements to create a unique and vibrant culture. Whether it's through singing, dancing, eating, or praying, Mexicans continue to honor their traditions and pass them down from generation to generation. As we welcome the new year, let's remember the values of faith, hospitality, and community that Las Posadas and Nochevieja represent. ?Feliz a?o nuevo! (Happy New Year!)


There you have it, a brief overview of how Las Posadas connects to Nochevieja and how Mexicans continue to observe this beautiful tradition. By sharing this post, we hope to raise awareness and appreciation for Mexican culture and inspire others to explore their own traditions and celebrate diversity. Thanks for reading and may your holidays be filled with joy and peace!

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