The community tradition called “Las Posadas” is a religious celebration and re-enactment of Mary and Joseph’s journey for lodging as the impending birth of Christ nears. From Dec. 16 through 24, Las Posadas (meaning the “inns” or “shelters”) is performed over the nine consecutive nights before Christmas. Las Posadas are held in different churches and parishes around Taos as well as select private homes.
The participants are divided into two groups, those looking for shelter with Mary and Joseph (los posadistas) and the innkeepers, or posaderos, who turn them away saying, “Aquí no es mesón, sigan adelante. Yo no debo abrir, no sea algún tunante,” (“This is not an inn, so you must keep going. I cannot open; you may be a rogue.”).
Finally, on the last night of knocking on doors, they are welcomed at la posada, the home that opens its doors and offers them food and shelter. The thoughtful posadero then sings to Mary and Joseph, “¿Eres tú, José? ¿Tu esposa es María? Entren, peregrinos, no los conocia,” (“Are you Joseph? Is your wife Mary? Come in, pilgrims; I didn’t recognize you.”).
This beautiful, moving pageant that is open to public spectating typically commences at dusk each night and follows a planned route — just look for small, flickering flames and flashlight beams, and listen for the music.
The final posada is on Dec. 24 and concludes with the Midnight Mass at San Francisco de Asís Church located at 60 St. Francis Plaza in Ranchos de Taos. For more information or to participate, call St. Francis Church at (575) 751-0518.
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