As a fierce storm blew outside the St. Joseph Church social hall, parishioners gathered to celebrate the seventh day of the Las Posadas nativity celebration.
Las Posadas is a re-enactment of the biblical story of Joseph and Mary’s journey to find a lodging for the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. The term Las Posadas means “the inns” in Spanish. In Mexico the nine days of posadas leading up to Christmas Eve, or Noche Buena, include parties with traditional songs and prayers, food and socializing.
“Las Posadas is a Mexican tradition where we prepare to show the baby Jesus. It is a very spiritual time; a time to be together with our families and friends and with a place to receive baby Jesus into our hearts with the love that we get for the year and the blessings. We share that spirit with our friends and family and with others to show our religion and the love that we have,” said parishioner Hector Estrada.
Mr. Estrada organized the event, which had to be relocated indoors due to the Sunday’s rain. Traditionally the re-enactment would have occurred at another parishioner’s home, but instead the church community gathered to recite a rosary, share a celebratory meal and prepare their hearts for Jesus’ birth on Christmas.
“Today we’re going to take Mary and Joseph, and there are five stations where they go around and ask for shelter to represent what Mary and Joseph did when they could not find shelter.”
“We’re going to start with a rosary, then we sing songs. After we receive Jesus into one of the homes. the people at the homes, they give food and so today we have pozole, tostadas, we have tamales, the traditional ponche, which is a traditional fruit punch with guava, cinnamon, apples, brown sugar. Everyone gathers together at the end of the night. It is a very special time for us,” said Mr. Estrada.
The church band played a Spanish rendition of “The Little Drummer Boy: and traditional songs such as “Ven, Ven Señor No Tardes” which loosely translates Come Come Lord Don’t Delay.
“Ven, ven Señor no tardes. Ven, ven que te esperamos. Ven, ven Señor no tardes. Ven pronto, señor,” sang the congregation. (Come come Lord don’t delay. Come quickly we are waiting for you. Come come Lord don’t delay. Come quickly Lord.)
St. Joseph’s is a Catholic church located at 1532 Linden Ave. in Carpinteria. The church will celebrate the last night of Las Posadas tonight.