Christmas in Ajijic, Mexico
Posadas are a very important part of Mexican Christmas celebrations.
The word posada means inn or shelter in Spanish and the posadas are usually a recreation of Mary and Joseph’s search for a place to stay in Bethlehem.
The posadas take place for the 9 nights leading up to Christmas from December 16th-24th. These 9 nights are meant to represent the 9 months Mary carried Jesus in her womb or, alternatively, the 9 days journey to reach Bethlehem.
Neighborhoods across Mexico hold these posadas and they are also becoming popular in the United States.
Usually, there is a procession with candles and sometimes with people playing the parts of Mary and Joseph (here in Ajijic, Lake Chapala they arrive on the backs of burros) and sometimes these images are carried.
The procession will go to a particular home or business (a different one every night) where a special song is sung.
This song is called La Peticion de Posada and those outside sing the part of Joseph asking for shelter and the people inside, singing the part of the innkeeper, saying there is no room.
The song goes back an forth a few times and, finally, the innkeeper decides to let them come inside.
These celebrations can vary from a formal party to a casual gathering of friends.
There is sometimes a Bible reading and a short prayer. Then the hosts provide food, often tamales, and other types of Mexican cuisine and the traditional hot drinks of the season such as ponche (hot punch), canela con rompope ( a cinnamon drink with the Mexican equivalent of eggnog) and atole which is a corn drink very smooth and delicious are served. Chocolate atole is called champurrado, fruit atole is usually made with pineapple or strawberries and atole con pinons is made with crushed pine nuts.
There will be piñatas which are brightly colored large Mexican ornaments filled with candy and each takes their turn trying to smash it open with a stick and happily gather up the candy and treats that rain upon them if successful.
As I mentioned there are many different types of posadas but if you are lucky enough to be invited to one I am sure you will enjoy yourself. Other than the opening song there will also be music of all types, dancing and the warmth of Naviidad will fill your heart.