Episcopal Day School pupils celebrate Posada Christmas tradition of Mexico

Episcopal Day School pupils received a lesson in cultural celebration this month.

From Dec. 9 through last Friday, pupils in the school's lower grades celebrated Posada, a Mexican tradition.

The Posada (Spanish for inn or shelter) is traditionally celebrated each night from Dec. 16 through Christmas Eve, said Sonia Puerta-Quinn, one of the school's Spanish teachers.

"It's a re-enactment of Mary and Joseph's travels to Bethlehem," she said. "There are usually two groups involved. One group goes with those acting as Mary and Joseph, and the other group are the hosts inside of the house, the inn. It also involves prayer and reading of Scripture."

Each night, when Mary and Joseph arrive at a house, the group accompanying them sings a song, Las Posadas, to let the hosts know that Mary, who is to be the mother of "the king to be," is at the door, Mrs. Puerta-Quinn said.

"At first, the group inside the house don't believe them. They keep singing until finally the group inside believes them and lets them in," she said.

Then, on Christmas Eve, a large celebration ends the Posada.

EDS pupils celebrated the Posada in a similar way. They passed the Nativity scene from classroom to classroom instead of going house to house and participated in many of the same activities, such as prayer, reading of Scripture and singing a verse from Las Posadas .

"The kids have a lot of fun with it, especially when they get to learn a song in a different language," Ms. Puerta-Quinn said.

They also learn the reason for Christmas, she said.

"It's a beautiful tradition that teaches them the true meaning of Christmas -- that it's about Christ, not gifts," she said.

The Nativity scene has remained in one of the classrooms for the holiday break. On Jan. 6, the pupils will celebrate the arrival of the three kings and learn more about it and what took place, Mrs. Puerta-Quinn said.

Reach Nikasha Dicks at (706) 823-3336 or nikasha.dicks@augustachronicle.com.

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