Sometime between Thursday night when I left San Miguel de Allende and Saturday night when I returned, the life-size crèche popped up in the Jardin Principal, just across from Parroquia San Miguel Arc Angel.
Just in time, too. The plaza will be the final stop on the nine-night journey of Joseph and Mary in search of a place to rest and give birth to the baby Jesus, Dec. 16-24. Eight other communities in San Miguel have each, in turn, held a Posada which ends with pageantry, music, gifts, food, pinatas, celebration, and veneration.
According to our newspaper, Atencion, each Posada is tied to a specific theme- humility, fortitude, detachment, charity, trust, justice, purity, joy, and generosity.
There are traditions, symbolism, complexities, narratives, and more that go back as far as 1737. Locations and pageantry change from time to time but the fundamental celebration remains unchanged. It is the story of Mary and Jesus traveling to Bethlehem for the annual census, a time that coincides with the Christ child’s birth and fulfills prophecy.
The couple faced rejection along the way — who does not know the phrase “no room at the inn.” Meanwhile, shepherds in the field were told of the pending birth by angels and set out to see the child. Tradition says the devil tempted the shepherds and tried to dissuade them from their mission.
In the panoramic (above) you can see evil lurking beneath the trees to the right clearly upset at failing to snare shepherd souls.
On Dec. 24 the child will be placed in the manger and remain nestled in swaddling clothes until January 6.