b People of all faiths are invited to join in a Borderland tradition as Bishop Ricardo Ramirez leads a traditional Gran Posada procession and celebration at 6:30 p.m. Sunday on Main Street in Las Cruces.
La Posada celebrations, which commemorate the quest of Mary and Joseph to find a place for the birth of Jesus, have been enjoying a revival throughout the Southwest in recent years.
The celebration will start with the singing of "La Posada," followed by the breaking of a pinata and a social time with refreshments.
La Posada means "house hunting" and every family and community establishes their own personal traditions for celebrations, according to a local cleric, the Rev. Ricardo Bauza, pastor of St. Genevieve's Church and a coordinator of the celebration.
Keeping with tradition, a couple dressed as Joseph and Mary, on a donkey loaned by a local farmer, will lead the procession, asking if there is room at the inn.
"Then we'll sing the traditional La Posada song, in Spanish, and we'll have the pinata breaking and fellowship with hot chocolate and goodies and music," said Bauza, who has fond memories of celebrations from his childhood in Mexico's Yucatan peninsula.
Bauza said Mexican celebrations are home-based, with family and friends.
"It's a good way to teach the Christmas story. In addition to the community celebration, we'll be having a church series of posadas through Dec. 24. There is traditionally a series of
novenas, nine days of prayer in preparation for the day of the birth of Jesus. Many people have little posadas with their own traditions in their homes," said Bauza.
"It's just a wonderful tradition that we love doing. We have a very active and very warm parish (at St. Genevieve's) and I just love Posada time," said Jane Madrid of Las Cruces.
Her family's celebration starts with La Gran Posada, Madrid explained.
"And then every night until Dec. 23, we have a nice little ceremony at the church and a pinata for the children, then Christmas Eve, we spend with our families," Madrid said.
"Since I moved back to Las Cruces, La Posada is just a tradition that's close to my heart," said Kathie Lopez, St. Genevieve's church receptionist. The celebrations were inspired by mystery plays of the Middle Ages.
Those in the procession will meet about a block south of the St. Genevieve monument on Main Street in Downtown Las Cruces and proceed to the monument, across from the Rio Grande Theatre. The event is free and open to the public.
If you go
What: Traditional Gran Posada
When: 6:30 p.m. Sunday
Begins: Main Street Downtown, one block south of the St. Genevieve Monument
How much: Free
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