Las Posadas in Mexico – The Celebration and Song

Las Posadas starts on December 16th and goes on till Christmas. Las Posadas literally means “the inns”. The festival is based around a reenactment of Mary and Joseph trying to find lodging at numerous inns and being turned away.

The story behind the festival is…

When Mary was pregnant with Jesus, she and Joseph were living in Nazareth.

At that time, Israel was a province of the Roman Empire. Rome’s governor, Herod, conducted a census, in order to levy a new tax. As part of the process, all citizens were ordered to return to the towns of their ancestor’s birth. Since Joseph was a descendent of King David, his ancestral town was Bethlehem, the “town of David”. And so, he took his expecting wife, and made the journey.

Thanks to the census, they were far from the only ones traveling. All the inns were completely full and they couldn’t find lodging. Eventually an innkeeper let them stay in his stables.

Nowadays, during Las Posadas, throughout Mexico children parade through their towns. The adults carry candles following the children. The leader of the parade is a child dressed as an angel. A little girl plays Mary, a boy plays Joseph and three others play the Wise Kings. They follow the angel. The other children dress as shepherds and shepherdesses following behind.

The procession goes from “inn” to “inn” asking for shelter. They really go from house to house. They sing a song called Villancicos para pedir posadas (Searching for an Inn Carols). The procession on the street asks for shelter. The people in the house sing back that no, there’s no space in their inn. Finally one innkeeper tells them they can stay in the stable. The doors are open to all at this final house and a big party begins! Everyone says a prayer, and then eats, drinks and is merry! A star shaped piñata, representing the star of Bethlehem, is part of the party.

Here’s a loose English translation of the song they sing in Mexico for Las Posadas. The original Spanish version is below it…

Searching for an Inn Carols

The Pilgrims…

In the name of the heavens
I request lodging from you,
Because she cannot walk,
My beloved wife.

The Innkeepers…

This is not an inn,
Go on ahead
I can’t open up for you
In case you’re a crook.

The Pilgrims…

Don’t be cruel,
Give us charity
That the gods of the heavens
Will give it to you.

The Innkeepers…

You can go now and
Don’t bother us
Because if I get upset
I’m going to beat you.

The Pilgrims…

We come tired
From Nazareth
I am a carpenter
Whose name is Joseph.

The Innkeepers…

Your name doesn’t concern me
I’m going to sleep
Because I already told you
That we don’t have to open up.

The Pilgrims…

I’ve asked you for lodging
Dear innkeeper
Because the mother is going to be
The queen of the heavens.

The Innkeepers

Then if she is a queen,
Who requests it
How is it that at nighttime
She’s traveling so alone?

The Pilgrims…

My wife is Mary
Queen of the heavens
And mother who’s going to make
The divine oath.

The Innkeepers

You are Joseph
Your wife is Mary
Come in travelers!
I didn’t know it.

The Pilgrims…

May God pay gentlemen,
For our charity
And may the heavens overwhelm you
With Happiness!

Everyone…

Happy (or blessed) is the house
That shelters today
The pure virgin
The beautiful Mary.

Enter holy pilgrims
Receive this haven
That although it’s a poor dwelling
The dwelling…
I offer to you from the heart.

Here’s the Las Posadas song in Spanish…

Villancico para pedir posada
(o Cantos para pedir posada)

Los Peregrinos…

En el nombre del cielo,
yo os pido posada,
pues no puede andar,
mi esposa amada.

Los Hosteleros…

Aquí no es mesón,
sigan adelante,
no les puedo abrir,
no vaya a ser un tunante.

Los Peregrinos…

No sean inhumanos
Denos caridad
Que el dios de los cielos
Se lo premiará

Los Hosteleros…

Ya se pueden ir,
y no molestar
Porque si me enfado
Los voy a apalear

Los Peregrinos…

Venimos rendidos
Desde Nazaret
Yo soy carpintero
De nombre José

Los Hosteleros…

No me importe el nombre
Déjenme dormir
Pues yo ya les digo
Que no hemos de abrir

Los Peregrinos…

Posada le pido,
amado casero,
pues madre va a ser,
la reina del cielo

Los Hosteleros…

Pues si es una reina,
quien lo solicita,
¿cómo es que de noche
anda tan solita?

Los Peregrinos…

Mi esposa es María
Reina del cielo
Y madre va hacer
Del divino verbo

Los Hosteleros…

Eres tu José
Tu esposa es María
Entren peregrinos
No lo conocía

Los Peregrinos…

Dios pague señores
Nuestra caridad
Y os colme el cielo
De felicidad

TODOS…

Dichosa la casa
Que abriga este día
A la virgen pura
La hermosa María.

Entren Santos Peregrinos,
Reciban este rincón,
que aunque es pobre la morada,
la morada…
os las doy de corazón.

Here you can watch a YouTube video enactment of this song. They’re mostly following the lyrics above.

Happy Las Posadas!

Lisa

Come check out… Las Posadas Piñata Songs and learn about the history of the piñata!

Come visit the Mama Lisa’s World Mexico Page for more Mexican Children’s Songs

And the Mama Lisa’s World Spain Page for more Spanish Children’s Songs

Translation by Lisa Yannucci and Monique Palomares.

UPDATE: In a later post you can hear a shorter version of Los posadas – there you can hear the tune to the song.

This article was posted on Tuesday, December 13th, 2005 at 11:39 am and is filed under Children's Songs, Christmas Songs, English, Holiday Songs, Holidays Around the World, Languages, Las Posadas, Las Posadas, Las Posadas Songs, Mexican Children's Songs, Mexico, Spanish, Villancicos para pedir posadas - Carols about Requestin. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

6 Responses to “Las Posadas in Mexico – The Celebration and Song”

  1. Linda Says:

    This site is great. My students are using in in Spanish class to create a “pedir posadas” ¡Gracias!

  2. Lori Bachmann Says:

    Do you have the music for the La Posada? I can’t remember the tune and I need it for Christmas eve!!!
    Thanks!
    Lori

  3. Lisa Says:

    Check out this YouTube Video where they’re singing two verses of it.

  4. Adami Vecino Maximiliano Says:

    My name is Adami Vecino Maximiliano , I just wanted to say that the article is really interesting. Continue like this!

  5. Fernando Says:

    Hi!

    The original piñata is a seven-pointed star that represents the seven deadly sins, on your turn you’re supposed to be blindfolded as you strike with the stick, representing that faith is blind and overcomes evil.

  6. Christmas Eve Posadas | The Viau From Here Says:

    […] resources for Las Posadas (including chords and sheet music) can be found here, here and here and of course by […]

Leave a Reply