Las Posadas: A Tradition of Bringing Community Together

Las Posadas: A Tradition of Bringing Community Together



The beautiful city of San Antonio attracts tourists from far and wide with it’s distinctive architectural sights, such as The Alamo and the majestic River Walk. I love the abundance of Latin history and culture throughout the city, which was founded by the Spanish in 1691.

A San Antonio must-see is the historic Market Square, also known as El Mercado. Here you’ll find fantastic handmade goods and authentic south-of-the-border crafts. As the largest Mexican market outside of Mexico, the popular landmark offers more than 100 shops and is located in a plaza gifted by the King of Spain in 1730.

At every corner, local Tejanos proudly serve up delicious “Tex-Mex” dishes (a fusion of American and Mexican cuisine), including savory fajitas and spicy chili con carne. For an art fix, definitely hit up the San Antonio Museum of Art to view exclusive works by painters Diego Rivera, Pablo Picasso and José Arpa y Perea. When I’m in town, I make a point to drop in on the museum’s impressive collection of pre-Columbian art, representing most of Latin America.

To my delight, Latin traditions are alive and well in San Antonio, including the spiritual celebration of Las Posadas. Running from December 16th -24th, the nine days of Las Posadas represent the nine months that Mary carried Jesus. This biblical celebration originated in Spain, and the festival is acknowledged throughout Mexico, Guatemala and several Central American countries. “Posada” means lodging, and the Catholic affair re-enacts the plight of Joseph and pregnant Mary traveling from Nazareth to Bethlehem in search for lodging. When they finally do find lodging, baby Jesus is born.

Typical Las Posadas events include a neighborhood candlelit procession during which revelers knock door-to-door requesting lodging; singing “Pedir Posada” andChristmas songs (villancicos).Also included is story-telling,piñatas for children, praying with Bible readings; and a homemade feast of tamales, buñuelos and ponche at the Posada party.

In a city where more than half the population is Latino, it’s no wonder that San Antonio hosts several Las Posadas events. The non-profit Hispanic Heritage Society presents a free La Gran Posada event in December (this year’s event took place December 14th). Located at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Little Flower, 1715 N. Zarzamora, the evening is a very special one filled with singing villancicos, the litany, a procession, food and drink, and more.

On December 21st, starting at 6 pm, the long-running annual procession event La Gran Posada starts at Milam Park (500 W. Commerce Street) and ends at San Fernando Cathedral (115 Main Plaza). Festivities include a procession, singing of villancicos, and kids enjoying breaking open piñatas.

Year-round, San Antonio offers visitors activities ranging from rodeos and cavern exploring, to wine tours and golf courses, to wildlife ranches and botanical gardens. Book your tickets to this city of culture, adventure and fun on Amtrak’s Texas Eagle, running all the way from Chicago to Los Angeles.

About the Author: Daisy Cabrera is a bilingual, bicultural public relations expert.