ANTIGÜEÑA SPANISH ACADEMY

Since 1985

Las Posadas - Christmas Tradition Antigua Guatemala


The Christmas Posadas tradition (Las Posadas de Navidad) in Antigua Guatemala is another strong tradition in Guatemalan culture and it is part of the end of the year holiday celebrations. Las Posadas begin on December 16th ton end on December 24th (nine nights before Christmas).

Before Jesus birth, the Roman Emperor Caesar Augustus ordered a population census, so Joseph and Mary so they decided to take the journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem. Las Posadas tradition in Guatemala represent the pilgrimage of Joseph and Mary. Biblical and historical accounts tell that Joseph and Mary did were not able to find a place to stay in Mesónes (in our days it would be a hotel), they traveled many many places, looking for a shelter since Maria was about to give birth.

Then, one of the inhabitants of the village told them about a nearby stable which was used by José and María for the delivery. It is known that the baby Jesus was born in a very simple place surrounded by the animals, commonly called in Spanish “Pecebre”.

posadas christmas antigua guatemala

The Posadas are small processions (small compared to the ones you see during Easter Week celebrations in Antigua Guatemala) that represent this journey from Nazareth to Jerusalem, search for a shelter and a place to stay every night.

In Guatemala, it was “Hermano Pedro de San José Betancur” who introduce this tradition in 1663. On December 24 he traveled the cobbled streets of Antigua Guatemala accompanied by several Catholic parishioners. They used to carry a small procession with the images of the Virgin, Saint Joseph and Baby Jesus.

Originally, the custom of this Spanish tradition was to carry only the Baby Jesus figure, but over time, Brother Pedro included the figures of Joseph and Mary.  It was also part of the tradition that this celebration was inside the convent only, but “Hermano Pedro” changed the tradition by taking a small procession through out the streets of Antigua Guatemala and this is how it is celebrated to this day.

Back then, during the tour they pray and sang Christmas carols, accompanied by musical instruments such as cane and clay whistles, chinchines, drums, turtle shells and tambourines. The inn or ‘Posada’ was illuminated by colored lanterns with candles, something that is still done today.

Nowadays, the small procession leaves the church and makes its way to the first ‘Posada’, this is a home chosen in advance, where the host is proud to receive the travelers with traditional Guatemalan foods, such as Tamales (read the recipe here) and the traditional ‘Ponche de Frutas’ (Hot Fruit Punch - read more about here). Hosting a “Posada” is considered a blessing. The Posadas are celebrated over nine days prior to Christmas Eve, representing nine months of Virgin Mary’s pregnancy.

posadas christmas antigua guatemala

Some ‘Posada Processions’ visit up to three houses per night, the travelers in La Posada are usually are divided in two groups, one that remains within the selected house where they prey, and the second group stays outside carrying the small procession named in Spanish ‘Anda’, adorned with conchitas of straw, cords of chamomile, moss, flowers of pascuas and candles, lanterns made of wood and cellophane.
When they finally arrive to the home where the ‘Posada’ will be received, they knock on the door and sing “en el hombre del cielo, os pido posada, pues no puede andar mi esposa amada” (In the name of heaven, we ask you for shelter, for my beloved wife can not walk). The small procession or ‘Anda’ remains in this last home until the next night when the pilgrimage begins again.

On the night of December 24th, Baby Jesus figure is added to the procession, which returns to the church.

 



Latest Posts

  • Radish Salad Guatemalan Recipe
    - Mar 30, 2020

    This recipe is a classic on the Guatemalan table, especially for the summer season. It is a refreshing and very traditional Guatemalan salad. It is the ideal accompaniment for dishes such as beef stew and others also typical of Guatemala.

  • Pan Dulce de Yema - Sweet Egg-yolk Bread Recipe
    - Mar 23, 2020

    The "Pan de Yema" (Sweet Egg-yolk Bread) is a very popular pastry product in Guatemala and Antigua Guatemala during the Easter Week season, very similar to the traditional "Pan de Manteca" (Sweet Bread) in flavor and appearance, although its interior has a more yellowish.

  • Spanish Words with two meanings Part 2
    - Mar 16, 2020

    A second post with three examples on words that have different meanings in Spanish language but written in the same way. This can be easily confusing and by remembering the difference, it'll be easier to understand other ones.

Go to Blog Mainpage


Archives

  • March 2020 (5)
  • February 2020 (4)
  • January 2020 (4)
  • December 2019 (5)
  • November 2019 (5)
  • October 2019 (3)
  • September 2019 (5)
  • August 2019 (3)
  • July 2019 (5)
  • June 2019 (4)

  • Tags

  • guatemala culture (50)
  • antigua guatemala (47)
  • learn spanish (27)
  • recipe (25)
  • cuisine (16)
  • guatemala (15)
  • easter week (14)
  • grammar (9)
  • guatemala arts (6)
  • semana santa (5)

  • Sponsor Links

    Spanish Online

    Online Spanish Classes - Learn More

    We are happy to announce our spanish clases online through Skype. If you are not coming to Antigua Guatemala, or wish to get started. Please let us know.

    Get in touch

    Spanish Academy Antiguena

    1a Calle Poniente #10
    Antigua Guatemala
    03001

    Tel: 5735 4638

    See the Spanish school in Antigua Guatemala map.

    Have a question? Contact Us