A Hispanic Matter Celebrating Christmas: Posadas, Aguinaldo Masses and Novenas

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By Juan Miret
Hispano de Tulsa

TULSA, Oklahoma – Hispanics observe the nine days between Dec. 16 and 24 with parties, singing, praying, piñatas, carols, scooters, punch, sparklers and many more symbols. That is how they celebrate and remember the pilgrimage of Mary and Joseph towards Bethlehem, where they sought shelter for the birth of the Messiah.

The “posadas” (Christmas parties)

Mexicans ask for a room for the night through music; they leave their homes and go door to door, singing carols. The interesting part is the role played by those inside the homes, since they have to deny access to the pilgrims. However, the pilgrims insist until the doors are opened, representing the shelter they sought.

This tradition, brimming with symbolism, includes historical analogies in elements as simple as a piñata. The piñata with seven cones represents the seven deadly sins. It is full of treats, a symbol on earth of divine grace. The blindfold represents faith; the stick is God and those cheering through song are the faithful, who together represent a church.

The novenas

This Colombian custom dates from 1700. Full of prayers, the novena has become a family celebration. During the novena, the Rosary is said for nine days, divided into four categories: sorrow, preparation, requests and indulgence. The prayers do not have to be said in a church; they can be said at home or in public plazas.

Although the novena arose within the core of the Catholic Church, currently Anglican, Orthodox and Lutheran believers are devoted to the practice.

Once the series of prayers concludes, custard and doughnut-like buñuelos come into play, since for Colombians they are synonymous with Christmas, a gathering and a party.

The “aguinaldo” masses

Venezuela prepares…

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