photography, San Miguel de Allende

Christmas in the times of Pastorela and Posadas

Updated with a list of public Posadas in San Miguel de Allende, courtesy of San Miguel FAQ

Monday afternoon, the children are in full-dress on the plaza of Parroquia San Antonio de Padua, in Colonia San Antonio for the traditional Pastorela. They have been rehearsing on the same patio most afternoons. They would sit in a circle and run through their parts with several ladies who show great gentleness, humor, and patience.

The Pastorela pageant recounts the adventures of the shepherds as they head to Bethlehem to worship the newly born baby Jesus on Christmas Day. They face numerous temptations — as you can see, an exuberant band of devils — and in some tellings, it is St. Michael who comes to their rescue. Go, San Miguel!

The Pastorela as a theatrical piece and oral story tradition has been embellished, modernized, changed in tone, and grown as any living, breathing thing — but the essential tale of trials, temptation, salvation, and redemption remains the same.

Another wonderful tradition, Las Posadas, will be celebrated in Mexico on Dec. 16-24 and follows the journey of Jesus and Mary from Nazareth to Bethlehem. On each of the nine nights, the procession heads out to a specific home seeking comfortable lodging for Mary to give birth. Families, children, musicians, singers, and others follow Mary and Joseph each night.

Of course, they are turned away (but rarely without treats and beverages.) When they end up back at the church, the children are given the chance to crack open star-shaped pinatas and scramble for the treats that spill to the ground.

Las Posadas tradition has existed for 440 years in Spain and Mexico.

Here is a list of public Posadas in San Miguel de Allende, courtesy of San Miguel FAQ:

  • December 16 : Corn Valley . Atrium of the temple. 6:30 pm
  • December 17: Colonia San Luis Rey . Atrium of the temple. 6:30 pm
  • December 18: Colonia San Rafael . Atrium of the temple. 6:30 pm
  • December 19: Colonias Infonavit Allende . Atrium of the temple. 6:30 pm
  • December 20: Colonia La Aurora . Atrium of the temple. 6:30 pm
  • December 21: Colonia Allende . Atrium of the temple. 6:30 pm
  • December 22: Colonia Guadalupe . Atrium of the temple. 6:30 pm (there will be Pastorela)
  • December 23: Colonia San Felipe Neri . Atrium of the temple. 6:30 pm (there will be Pastorela)
  • December 24: Historic Center . Nativity in the Main Garden. 6:30 pm

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