Our Tales From The Road
Neighborhood Posadas 2007
Posted on Dec 18th, 2007
Two nights ago the posadas began in our neighborhood - the first one being at Marta & Aron’s, our next door neighbor’s house. Posadas are 9 nights of pilgrimages of Mary & Josph praying for room at the inn. There are prayers, songs and pleas.
The litter carrying statues of Mary, Jospeh and an angel are brought in to the house,
and left there until the next night where the rosary is held again and the statues move on to the next home.
Petra & Anai Singing back and forth to the crowd of people outside who are asking to come in
After you are finally let in to a home, there is Ponche, a very sweet fruit drink that has tecojote, guayaba, tangerines, oranges, sugar cane, canela spices and more fruit, then little bags of goodies for the children and mothers, and finally the piñatas.
The second night, last night, started at Marta & Aron’s where the statues were left the night before to be picked up for the next rosary and posada.
Today’s rosary for the posada was at Marta & Aron’s house next door – we all recited prayers - (about 100 Hail Mary’s and our Fathers – ( the ‘misterios’ as our neighbor Petra calls them) Reciting the rosary in Marta & Aron’s house.
young girls with candles …
Tonight, it felt more regular and not so mysterious. Kids, in anticipation of the piñatas, started showing up without their parents about a half hour before the adults.
The crowd of people grows each night, as the children find out where the posadas are. Young mothers, middle age women, grandmothers, children and babies make up the group. The men were noticeably absent. Everyone arrives singing.
This time, I had printed the main prayers in Spanish out so I could pray also. What a joke! It took 5 Hail Mary’s to realize that Beto (Petra’s grandson, and one of the few ‘older males’) would read the first half of the prayer, then the people would recite the second half of the prayer. They speak so fast I was half done when they were on the the next round.
For the second set of Hail Marys I was ready, but it didn’t sound right and I was reading the wrong thing. It turns out that for one set, Beto reads the first half then we read the second half. The second round, we read the first half, and he reads the second half of the prayer. After about 30 of these I had it down and only had to practice speaking it in triple time or leaving out words.
There were about 45 people this time and just like any unorganized local event, people were knowing what was to happen but not quite knowing what to do - who carries the statues, who follows first and the 8-12 year old boys were lighting all the candles and sparklers before they were supposed to and pushing each other around while their mothers swatted at them because it wasn’t time for that yet for that.
(photo below from 2006 posada)
Beto was giving orders to whoever would listen and an elderly woman and her granddaughter finally made it on to the street with the saints. They couldn’t decide which way to go on the street – so they turned around in circles with the whole crowd following them back and forth in circles until someone started laughing, and they decided to go all the way around instead of up and across.
Lety and her twins Miguel & Angel led the singing and Petra finally grabbed little Duncan’s hand because he was running all over the place, and Anel, his mother, is so pregnant and tired by this time that she couldn’t keep up with him - people were spilling hot ponche on themselves and people next to them.
The little boys finally were given the go ahead to light everyone’s candles & were begging people for their sparklers so they could hang behind and play with the fire. We finally made it to the house up on the upper right corner of Calle Paraiso and everyone sang to be let in - they sang over and over until the owners of the house finally opened the door to us singing the glory be and thanks song.
This time there was more hot ponche and bags of goodies, but no piñata. The crowd was bigger than the first night. I am told it will be 100 people (maybe more) by the time it is at our house this coming Sunday!
On the way back I asked Marta if it was normal to have no piñata and she said that it totally depends on the house. If there isn’t a lot of money they will give the goodie bags first, then ponche to drink, then piñatas. No one seemed disappointed.
Each night one or two of the grandmothers introduced themselves to me, curious about the gringa in the crowd and Marta or Petra would explain that I am their neighbor and live here. I plan to go again tonight, to experience the fullness of the whole experience and to meet more of my neighbors, young and old
As they hit the piñata, there are songs that everyone sings which tease the hitter and put a limit to the time each child gets with the stick.
The songs, in English & Spanish are below
A free for all as the piñata falls & Beto (tall young man) helps the younger kids get goodies
The piñata songs:
Dale, dale, dale.
No pierdas el tino.
Porque si lo pierdes.
Pierdes el camino.
Ya le diste una.
Ya le diste dos.
Ya le diste tres.
Y tu tiempo se acabó.
Hit it, hit it, hit it.
Don’t loose your aim.
Because if you loose it.
You loose the way.
You hit it once.
You hit it twice.
You hit it three times.
And your time is up.