Las Posadas Celebrations Keep Alive Beloved Tradition

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local News

By Eleanore Catolico

By performing prayers and songs, Las Posadas act as an epic remembrance of the Holy Family for Latino Catholics and Protestants alike.

Deriving its historical roots from Spain, Las Posadas translates to “the inns” or “the lodgings.” The traditional posada is a nine-day procession that re-enacts Mary and Joseph’s journey in Bethlehem before Christ’s birth, a holiday ritual that has been practiced for more than 400 years in Mexico and Guatemala.

Beginning on Dec. 16 and ending on Dec. 24, the length of the procession is particularly symbolic as it represents the nine months Mary carried Jesus in her womb. Young children play the roles of Mary and Joseph and go from house to house seeking refuge.

In Illinois, Las Posadas attract hundreds-strong crowds every year, which signifies the value of faith in Latino communities.

According to the Pew Research Hispanic Trends Research Project, Latinos continue to have an impact on the religious landscape, as nearly two-thirds (68 %) of Latinos identify as Catholic, while 15 % identify as born-again or evangelical Protestants.

These celebrations each express a unique communal personality. Pilsen Wellness Center’s healthcare conscious and carnivalesque Holiday Posada aims to be an evening of piñata breaking, Christmas hymns, hot chocolate and flu shots.

For Pilsen Wellness Center Outreach Counselor Tomas Ramirez, the nativity story holds resonance for the Latino immigrant experience.

“When we talk about the U.S. in general, [it’s] a culture that receives all those people,” Ramirez said. “In that sense, Las Posadas has a whole new meaning because [as immigrants] we need shelter and protection.”

In partnership with Casa Guanajuato Chicago, Durango Unido, Get Covered America, and Get Covered Illinois, Pilsen Wellness Center’s Holiday Posada will take place on Sunday Dec. 21 at Casa Juan Diego, located at 2020 South Blue Island Ave. The event is free and open to the public.

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