Culture

There’s No Mexican Christmas Without Posadas: We Rounded Up 11 Facts About Them That You Probably Never Knew About

For many Latinos, the word posada, evokes chilly nights surrounded by family and friends, singing, enjoying a warm meal (of tamales and ponche, of course), and spreading holiday cheer all around. If you have never been lucky enough to be invited to one of these celebrations, read on to find out a few facts that will explain what posadas are all about.

1. The word posada literally means ‘inn or lodging’, and traditionally posadas are a celebration of the Christmas story.

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Posadas involve a reenactment of Joseph and Mary’s search for a shelter where the Virgin Mary could safely give birth to Jesus in Bethlehem.

2. Posadas are a distinctly Mexican Catholic tradition, which is also celebrated all over Latin America and even across the world.

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The tradition has spread to places like Colombia, Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salavador, and many other Latin American countries, but it originated in Mexico as a Spanish celebration used by friars to convert indigenous people into Catholicism.

3. Posadas are a  celebration of the novenario before christmas.

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‘Novenario’ means nine days, which means that posadas take place during the nine days before Christmas Eve. The none days running up to Christmas, represent the nine months of The Virgin Mary’s pregnancy. In Colombia, this period of time is called ‘La Novena’, and it‘s turned into a celebration similar to posadas but that in Colombia, Venezela and Ecuador is known as ‘La Novena de Aguinaldos’.

4. Posadas in Mexico began as a way for the Spaniards to teach native people about Christmas.

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During the nine days leading up to Christmas Day, masses would include representations of Mary and Joseph. Following mass, there would be a party where people were blindfolded before hitting a piñata with a stick, a representation of faith defeating temptation with the help of virtue. The fruits and sweets that poured out of the piñata represented the joys of union with God.

5. At the beginning of a posada, people are divided in two groups, the ones “outside” representing Mary and Joseph, and the ones “inside” representing innkeepers.

Then everyone sings the posada litany together, re-enacting Mary and Joseph’s search, going back and forth until they are finally “admitted” to an inn. After this traditional part, the actual party starts. Posadas have spread to other countries — such as Guatemala, Ecuador, Colombia, and Venezuela; and the celebrations vary by location.

6. Piñatas are a quintessential part of posadas.

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Although they have mostly lost their original religious meaning, piñatas remain an essential part of las posadas. Mexico. Piñatas come in all shapes and sizes, but star shaped pinatas are the ones traditionally used in posadas. In fact, these star-shaped piñata’s 7 points represent the seven deadly sins. Most Mexicans are catholic and piñatas were a way to teach children about religion in a fun way. Piñatas represent being tempted by evil and the tradition of hitting them blindfolded symbolizes overcoming evil through blind faith.

7. Posadas are the occasion when moms and abuelas finally make the delicious ”Ponche Navideño” or Mexican Christmas Punch.

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A hot, flavorful drink that for many is synonymous with the holidays. Its ingredients vary from state to state, but it is traditionally prepared with tejocote (Mexican hawthorn), sugarcane, tamarind, apple, pear, guayaba, and cinnamon sticks. Some hosts will also offer their adult guests ponche con piquete – punch with a sting of alcohol, usually tequila or rum.

8. The posada litany is a traditional sung exchange that abuelas remember by heart and have passed down to younger generations since time immemorial.

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The traditional song which both “sides” of the reenactment sing while holding candles asking for ‘posada’ goes a little like this: “Eeeen el nombre del cieeeelo, ooos pido posaaaada (note the emphasis on the vowels, if you grew up singing these, you’ll know), pueees no puede andaaar mi esposa amada” (In the name of God I ask you for shelter for my beloved wife can’t go on) begin the Joseph and Mary group: the inne keepers reply denying them entry.

9. At the end of the litany, when the innkeeper finally decides to give Mary and Joseph a place to stay; both parties celebrate.

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As per tradition, the pilgrims carry colored candles and sparklers that symbolize the light that leads the way to the manger, and everyone gets to light sparklers in celebration at the end of the litany. After the litanies and the pilgrimage are over, everyone goes back to the house, where the real party starts.

10. The traditional “aguinaldo“ or ‘goodie bag’ that children get at Mexican birthday parties, originated from posadas.

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So they say, that thanks to Friar, Diego de Soria, the first posadas were celebrated in colonial Mexico around the year 1587. Back then, they used to celebrate “misas de aguinaldo” (Christmas mass), which were called like that because on these masses they offered a gift or Christmas box to the kids; this consisted of fruits, candies or toys. On the posadas the “aguinaldo” is represented by snacks, and even up to this day, kids can still expect a little aguinaldo at the end of the party.

11. Posadas were a means to convert indigenous peoples to Christianity.

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It’s said that posadas go all the way back to the time when the indigenous people celebrated during the winter or panquetzaliztli the advent of Huitzilopochtli, God of the War. For centuries, the Aztecs celebrated the birth of their god Huitzilopochtil around Christmas time. Huitzilopochtil was an important god of war who led the Aztec’s ancestors to the valley of mexico in what is now Mexico City.

Seeing the similarities between Christmas and Huitzilopochtil’s birth, Augustine priests were able to gradually convert the natives to Christianity. They realized that they couldn’t eradicate the holiday, but instead use it to gain new converts. This strategy also worked with Day of the Dead, as it was a former indigenous holiday turned catholic celebration coinciding with all saints day.

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Guys Talk About The Best Valentine’s Day Gifts To Give Last Minute

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Guys Talk About The Best Valentine’s Day Gifts To Give Last Minute

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, which means it’s time to cue the balloons, bouquet of red roses and pink and heart everything! The truth is, even as one of the most manufactured and cheesy holidays, Valentine’s Day can be a wonderful way to remind the person in your life that you love them.

And while it often seems like the pressure has to solely be on one partner, it’s also a time of year for us all to step up.

Fortunately, Reddit is teeming with ideas for Valentine’s Day gifts for men.

Check it out below!

“I was in college (22M). I a girl I had known since high school had a crush on me and I could tell. She was a student at the same university and we would occasionally meet our group of friends for lunch. This little gathering had gone on for several semesters and we all knew each other quite well. This girl had a really rough life and a learning disability that prevented her from reading social situations and advancing in her studies. I had been trough an incredibly difficult break up the previous semester and was looking at a lonely Valentine’s day. I am not sure if she was told by a mutual friend or if she took her own initiative but she got me a little sucker bouquet in a coffee mug for me. I have a really bad sweet tooth and am a coffee addict so this was the perfect gift. We ended up getting lunch just the two of us and had a great time. I will always remember how much fun I had.” –Brighter_Lighter

“My girlfriend made me a comic book of us and all of our adventures. Yes I cried.” –FireButchJones

“When I first started dating my now fiance, we worked together, along with her ex. When he found out we were dating he tried talking to me in the breakroom, and casually talked shit, saying shes clingy, etc. Then he said “You know, I would tell you some more stuff but im afraid you’d chirp (while making a talking hand gesture)”. He tried to act ghetto to the point where I was embarrassed for him. That became an inside joke between me and her, and I started saying stuff mockingly, like ‘Im gonna chirp up in this bitch’ and ‘Im chirping in the trap.’ Then it turned into us creating comics back and forth called “The Adventures of Chirp and Trap”. Everyday one of us would draw a comic, and the other would continue the story. Chirp was a bird who usually wore either a cowboy hat or a Rambo outfit, and Trap was a bird in a cage. I think we still have them somewhere, but one of the funniest ones was Chirp having to rescue Trap from a Dothraki horde.” –Treegs

Every year, my mom makes this cookie cake with chocolate and strawberries and it’s the best thing ever. That’s the only ‘gift’ I’ve ever gotten for Valentine’s day (so far) Edit: forgot to take a picture of the first one but luckily she made an extra mini one this year. This is the first time she’s added the white chocolate, and it’s usually in the shape of a heart, but here it is.” –Zaquarius_Alfonzo

“Not a gf, but one time my parents bought me a box of slim jims as a kid and it lasted me until May. Was great.

I’ll marry the next woman who buys me a big ass box of slim jims.” –

SleeplessShitposter

“My parents would get me valentines day presents all the time! One year was a restaurant sized tub of ketchup (since I really loved ketchup at the time). It was both useful and fun! Though we threw it out before I finished it off, because the bottom of the tub was beginning to be a bit… off.

I’ve never gotten anything for valentines day not from my parents.” –

FlameFrenzy

“A letter telling me all that she loves about me and how I treat her. It was the best. Her birthday was a couple of days after so it was very hard making her feel loved and appreciated like I felt when I gave her a shitty valentines gift.

The second best has to be nothing (different partner). Literal nothing. I bought her some of her favorite candy. But it was great because it really showed how our relationship was and I knew she wasn’t the right one for me and I wasn’t the one for her. She dumped me a couple days later. Couldn’t say I was surprised.” –cbarnes15

“one year a girl i was dating just sent me a big long message basically a letter telling me she wished she could be there with me (long distance relationship) and i was going through a rough patch and really drove home how much she cared about me and it was really beautiful, she was really good at making me feel special. i tried to do the same but i guess im just not good at it, i mailed her a letter i had written with her favorite candy but yeah the relationship eventually fell apart and i feel bad i couldn’t get across how strongly i felt about her.” –alchupanebra

“I got a steak, bourbon, a jump rope, and a bag of dorotos. I gave her a “sexy/naughty” calendar of me doing household chores wearing only an apron, a week of nightly foot rubs, I made her cinnamon rolls from scratch, and I hid 50 Ferrero Rocher around the house.” –Raininglemur

“I made a friend of mine who is a single woman a computer “game” that turned her xbox controller into a vibrator. I included all sorts of preset patterns too so that with button presses or voice commands you could change it up.” –

Aazadan

“I feel like I’m the only one who likes to give foot rubs. I think it’s a good work out for my grip strength and ladies love em. Like just ask and I’ll gladly give one. My ex didn’t like her feet touched though so I rarely gave them.” –drsquires

It was junior year and my psychology class was doing a secret Santa type thing but for Valentine’s Day since we were close. I got a girl who I was fine with giving a gift to. Drew her a nice rose, wrote something cute and gave her chocolates, not a lot. What I got from another girl was pretty impressive. I got a nice handwritten card, a jar of kisses, and a bunch of candy put into a cute bag. Now, I was antisocial af and this was completely unexpected. I was expecting her to give me like a chocolate bar or something but nah, she gave me the entire bag! Such a friendly girl, wish her the best in her college life now.

I also got a valentines gram which had chocolates sent to me anonymously but I already knew it was this one girl a grade above me that sent it. Weird cause I’m usually the one that never gets shit.” –Reddit User 

“When I was in high school from my first serious girlfriend. My first valentine’s day in a relationship. We had been dating about five months at the time.

I ask her what she wants for valentine’s day. She says she doesn’t want anything, just a dinner with me (I already had reservations). I ask her again, incredulously, “you don’t want anything, not even flowers?”

“No, I don’t want anything.”

“Are you sure? No flowers?”

“I’m sure.”

“No flowers?”

Don’t get me flowers.”

So… I don’t get her anything except chocolate and a dinner reservation. Definitely no flowers.

At the end of the day, she is upset she hasn’t gotten any flowers delivered. I tell her that I didn’t get her any, she told me not to. She cries, and tells me not to talk to her. Refuses to answer my calls. We don’t go out to dinner, and I spend valentine’s day alone.

My gift? One of the greatest lessons I have ever learned – don’t take women literally, it’s a trap.

Just buy the damn flowers.” – SadClownInIronLung

“My sophomore year of high school some girl who I really hadn’t thought much of gave me a card that read “To: Cute boy, you have a really nice smile”. We hung out a bit after that but things didn’t go to great (long story). Anyways that one valentine started a chain reaction that ended some serious depression I had and now I smile more often.” –supeguy212

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Socially Distanced Navidad? Here Are the Best Family Games to Play Over Zoom

Culture

Socially Distanced Navidad? Here Are the Best Family Games to Play Over Zoom

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This Christmas, unfortunately, is going to be tough for a lot of people. With the coronavirus pandemic still waging on, many of us have had to make the tough decision to stay home for the holidays. That means no traveling out of town or visiting extended family like we have in years past.

If you come from a family that likes to get into the competitive spirit and play games over the holidays, then giving up that tradition might feel too disappointing. Luckily, we can all rely on technology to keep us connected in these trying times when we’re forced to be apart.

We’ve compiled a list of Zoom-friendly games that you can play with your family over the holidays and beyond. Take a peak at our fun picks below!

1. Charades

This one’s an easy one. All you have to do is create a Zoom link, send it out to family members and pick a topic to act out. If you’re having trouble thinking of a word, trying using a Charades word generator.

2. Card Games

Who says a little old pandemic can keep us from playing cards with our loved ones? For many of us, playing cards with our family is as steadfast a holiday tradition as exchanging gifts is. Log on to https://playingcards.io/ to create a custom game room to share with your family.

3. Bingo

Think about it: Bingo is the perfect game to play over Zoom. Websites like https://myfreebingocards.com/virtual-bingo have virtual bingo games you can play for free with up to 30 participants!

4. Heads Up!

Heads Up! is a game in which a player has to guess which word/topic is on their phone screen by the clues their team members are giving them. In order to make the most of this game, players at each Zoom location will have to download the Heads Up! app on their phone. And after that, it’s smooth sailing.

5. All Bad Cards (aka Cards Against Humanity)

If you’re the type of family that likes to push the envelope over a game of Cards Against Humanity, consider logging onto https://allbad.cards/. All you have to do is generate a party room and send the link out to the members of your “party”. Then, you’re ready to go!

6. Pictionary

Pictionary is the kind of game that Zoom was practically invented for. In order to play this game, you’ll have to fire up Zoom’s whiteboard tool and share your screen with all of the participating players. Again, if you can’t think of a topic, get some help with a Pictionary random word generator.

7. Trivial Pursuit

You’ll have to own this classic board game in order to play over Zoom, but if you do, setting it up and playing is super easy. In order to make this game user-friendly for all participants, make sure there’s someone in your location that can play on the same team as someone in a different Zoom location. That way, all the players can be sure that there’s no cheating involved.

8. Outburst

If you’re a fan of Family Feud, then Outburst is probably right up your alley. This game requires that each player brainstorm lists off of a given topic (i.e. Top Ten Christmas songs). Unfortunately, there is no virtual or online version of the game, but instead, team members can take turns coming up with topics and having other players brainstorm lists.

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