Hispanic community celebrates Christmas with Posadas

Hispanic Community Carries On Christmas Tradition Of 'Posada'
CF NEWS 13 December 24, 2008

WINTER PARK -- While many are hitting the malls, shopping for the perfect gift this holiday season, others are busy keeping up with tradition.

One Hispanic community in Central Florida has made a nine-day Mexican Christmas tradition an annual custom at Resurrection Catholic Church, in Winter Garden.

"It's 'Las Posadas,' and it is the tradition where Mary and Joseph go to all the homes in the area, and they are turned down," said Mary Jo Star, a spectator attending the church's celebration. "They do different readings from the Bible, and they sing songs and they celebrate, and they come all the way around and end up in Bethlehem at the end, and they're invited [into the manger at the] Inn."

"Las Posadas" means "The Inns." In Mexico, each family in a neighborhood schedules a night for a Posada at their home. Each home represents a scene of the Nativity, and the ninth day always falls on Christmas Eve.

The tradition dates back many centuries, as one of the first methods used by Spanish settlers to evangelize the Indigenous communities in Mexico.

"This brings back to them what they went through in the their own countries, and what they've experienced," said the Rev. Alex Dalpiaz, of Resurrection Church. "Now here, they experience the same faith, the same culture. They now practice in another country, and they carry it with them."

"I came here to show my girls what it's like to be in another country that is in love with Catholicism," Star said. "This kind of shows them, and shows everybody a culture that exists among us, and we should appreciate it and enjoy it."

The variations of Christmas traditions in the U.S. equal the number of cultures that have settled the land. Whether it is a family, faith, or ancient tradition, it is what makes your holiday unique.

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