Las Posadas is a nine-day Latin American celebration commemorating the journey of Joseph and Mary from Nazareth to Bethlehem and their search for lodgings. Celebrations happen in the evening on December 16 through December 24. The nine days are said to represent the nine months of Mary’s pregnancy.
It is mostly celebrated in Mexico, Guatemala, and portions of the Southwestern United States. It is a 400-year-old tradition. Though a Catholic tradition, is it believed Friar Pedro de Gante started the tradition in the 16th century. Some also believe it was started by early friars to combine Spanish Catholicism with the December Aztec celebration of the birth of Huitzilopochtli.
Posada is Spanish for lodging. Each night a “posada” is held. Children dress as Mary, Joseph, and angels who search for an inn to stay. Each night the parade of children ends at a different home. The homeowners open their home and there are songs, storytelling, food, fun, and star-shaped piñatas.