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.

11 Gift Ideas To Give Your BFF This Christmas Featuring All Latino-Inspired Presents

Culture

11 Gift Ideas To Give Your BFF This Christmas Featuring All Latino-Inspired Presents

mitú

Your best friend is literally the best. Like, the greatest of all your other friends. So giving them a gift that’ll make them go ‘meh’, is completely out of the question. After all, this isn’t just any old gift, like one for your boss or a Secret Santa exchange or even a family member. This is a present for your partner in crime. Thankfully, we could think of a few Latino-inspired gifts that are perfect for your comadre or compadre.  From hats to clever mugs, accessories, candles and more, you’ll definitely find something he or she will love this holiday season! And you’ll get rep your Latinidad while you’re at it. 

‘Annoyed in Spanish’ Dad Hat

If your friend is bilingual, then you know they can get annoyed in both English and Spanish (lucky you). We feel their pain, so we made this [Annoyed In Spanish] Dad Hat to wear on the days when we simply can’t with people. Stay strong, amigos, we feel you.

‘Pa qué highlighter’ Makeup bag

This little gift set would be a lifesaver for the makeup obsessed person in your life. Remind that makeup queen that she doesn’t need any highlighter with that brown shine of hers. This vegan leather bag is perfect for holding all her day-to-day essentials. Take this with you and SHINE!

Apt. 512 keychain

Ideal for that Selena fan in your life. Or maybe send it as a hint to that special ‘chico del apartamento 512’ who has the key to your heart. 

‘Mejor Sola’ Necklace 

For that queen who maybe has just gone through a breakup, or who just doesn’t settle for anyone she’s not 100 percent sure about. Remind her that ‘mejor sola que mal acompañada’ and empower her to live her best life with this little sumthin. 

‘Y la dieta?’ hat 

For the fit friend who always keeps track of everyone else’s calorie count. Gift her this hat so she can remind everyone to keep on with la dieta without saying anything. 

‘Fierce Graduate’ pin

For that recent grad in your life. Let her know; girl, you’re someone who knows what she wants and you’ll never stop working until you reach your goals. The “Fierce Graduate” Pin will help her show the world, she’s a force to be reckoned with.

‘Qué Cozy’ candle set

Fall is here, and winter is just upon us, so why not get cozy with some candles? As you know, Latinos don’t do basic —we’re looking at you Pumpkin Spice— so this Holiday Candle Collection comes with three Latino-inspired scents including Tamales de Dulce, Arroz con Leche, and of course, Cafecito! So grab a blanket and a lighter and enjoy!

‘That’s my Prima’ pin pack

You know your prima always has your back, so why not show her how much you love and support her too, with this matching pin set! So cute. 

‘Tragos’ party game

Made with pure Latino pride, Tragos is the drinking card game that your abuela will not approve of. Perfect for the friend who loves hosting fiestas at his place. Each box holds 110 ridiculously true Latino reference cards, designed with unique game rules to get the fiesta started. 

Play with different card categories like: Vote — Tostones or maduro? Losers take 2 sips. Jinx — Pick a person in the room. On 3, both of you call out the best Latino dessert. If you have different answers, drink. Most Likely To —On 3, everyone points at the person you think watches the most telenovelas. Pick Two—Pick two types of Latino cuisine. Everyone votes on which one is better. Losing team drinks. And then ask them to invite you to the drinking party. 

‘El Jefe’ hat

Sorry, this hat is for boss Latinos only*. If you are not one, please hit the back button on your browser immediately. But if you or one of your friends is the perfect guy for this hat, go ahead and add to your cart because there’s no better gift for that carne asada king. 

‘Fierce’ sticker set

If your BFF is one of those stationery lovers, then this sticker pack is for her. Featuring our fave poderosa phrases, she’ll be able to stick little reminders of her greatness anywhere she wants. The perfect gift to stick it to the patriarchy where it counts —literally and figuratively.

READ: Show Your BFF How Much You Care With These Super Thoughtful Gifts

These 13 Latina-Inspired Gifts Will Make Your Mom Feel So Seen This Holiday Season

Culture

These 13 Latina-Inspired Gifts Will Make Your Mom Feel So Seen This Holiday Season

mitú

Finding the perfect gift for mom is always a challenge, isn’t it? You may already have ideas for gifts to give your siblings, or friends, or even your abuelos, but moms are tough to shop for. That’s why we’re thinking, why not gift her something fun and clever? It’s the experiences that we remember the most, so maybe a bland gift won’t be as memorable as that hilarious mug you got her that Christmas of 2019. So have a read below to find some comical and clever presents for your mamita. Because Latinos don’t give basic gifts, we won’t let you down. 

‘Mami’ necklace

Nothing sweeter, prettier or more classic, than gifting mom a piece of jewelry —or wait— we can think of something sweeter; a piece of jewelry with the word mami on it. “Mom” just doesn’t quite describe the head of a Latino family, the only term that can do her justice is mami or mamita or ‘her majesty… just saying. 

‘La Jefa’ apron

Sorry, this apron is for boss Latinas only*. If you are not one, please hit the back button on your browser immediately. Mom is the ultimate jefa. She runs the house, she runs the family, she raised you, for God’s sake —is there anything the woman can’t do? Get her the apron, she deserves it. 

‘Andale Por Pendeja’ t-shirt

If your mom is anything like mine, or any other mom on the planet, saying “I told you so” doesn’t quite cut it, and sometimes she might want to get her point across with just a smidge of judgment. Thankfully, mitú made this Ándale Por Pendeja Tee for such occasions! 

Mom’s Favorite Candle Set

You know who would love this Latino-inspired Candle Collection? Your mom. No, really. She’d love this refreshingly minty Sana Sana candle, or perhaps the soapy fragrance of this Te Boté one? And who could ever resist the iconic (yet triggering) Saturday morning scent of Fabulosa? No one, that’s who!

‘Poderosa’ hoop earrings

Nothing but the best for your queen. These hoops are 14 karat gold plated brass, and you know she deserves them. Because we’ve never met a more poderosa woman than a madre de familia. 

‘Comadres’ tee

Your mom was your very first comadre before you even made friends. Remind her about your special bond with this ‘Comadres’ tee, she’ll be moved to tears, guaranteed.

‘World’s best suegra’

Surprise your suegra with this mug, she hugs like a mother and loves like a friend so she deserves the best!! Ideal for the perfect mom-in-law. 

‘Te Calmas o Te Calmo’ chanclas

Who knew the most triggering of phrases would make a badass pair of chanclas? This Te Calmas O Te Calmo chanclas are not only fashionable, but subtly threatening to anyone who grew up in a Latino household, and it makes the perfect phrase for that mom who’s always keeping you in check. Help make her life easier by gifting her some chanclas with her signature phrase printed on it. You’re welcome. 

‘La Jefa’ iPhone case

Mom has some important phone calls to make, so let her make them in style. Help her flaunt her endless poder every time she takes out her phone. 

Concha Fleece Blanket

Carbs are the devil, yes, but mom’s precious conchas and cafecito definitely don’t count! Help mami stay warm in the winter with this Concha Fleece Blanket and enjoy whatever sweet dreams may come. And maybe make her a damn coffee once in a while. 

‘House Favorite’ dog bandana

Let’s be real here. The true golden child of your house is the dog. You know it, your siblings know it, and your mom knows it, too. Getting your mom’s beloved doggo a present equals to getting a present for the woman herself! So we made this House Favorite Dog Bandana for all of mom’s good boys and good girls out there.

‘Hermosa’ hoops

There will never be a more hermosa woman in your life. Mom deserves these hoops because she’s a hardworking queen and a role model, and she’s nothing but ‘hermosa’ every day, even on Sundays, when she’s doing la limpieza in her flashiest outfits.

‘Pa qué highlighter’ Makeup bag

This little cosmetics bag would be a lifesaver for the makeup obsessed mom. Remind that makeup queen that she doesn’t need any highlighter with that brown shine of hers. This vegan leather bag is perfect for holding all of mami’s day-to-day essentials. Take this with you and shine.

READ: These Latino Holiday Gifts Are Anything But Basic