The first Christmas celebration in Mexico took place in 1538 when missionaries brought Roman Catholicism to the new continent. Since then, the story of La Posada, where Joseph and Mary look for a place to stay the night of the original Christmas eve, has been celebrated in this part of the world. At Fort Leaton State Historical Site in Presidio, Texas folks from both sides of the border bring this religious story to life.
La Posada is a Mexican traditional Christmas celebration. It is a re-enactment of the Virgin Mary and Joseph going door to door asking for a place to stay overnight.
Everyone in the town gets involved in the celebration. After food and festivities, the audience breaks into two groups to sing the Posada song while a priest leads the procession.
It’s not just a song and it's not really a play or a skit but it’s just a complete presentation.
Also part of tradition is the breaking of the pinata, representing the seven deadly sins. Once defeated, out come the fruits and candies.
[Tony] Fort Leaton here is known to exist since back in the mid-1700s," explains Tony Manriquez, a former park superintendent, "and religion was always you know part of the people back then as well as right now. It’s happiness, glory you know around the holidays."
Fort Leaton will present La Posada again this year on December 18th. Las Posadas begins on December 16 and continues for nine days followed by the presentation of gifts on January 6 which is called Dia de los Tres Reyes or Three King Day. The Texas Parks and wildlife Department has more information on holidays in the parks all over Texas.
The Texas Parks & Wildlife Department produces these multi-media reports as an educational resource.