Las Posadas, a Mexican Advent tradition stretches from 16 December through Christmas, during which actors depict Mary and Joseph looking for lodging. They travel throughout the town or city, followed by a procession of children and other members of the community carrying candles. A song is traditionally sung at each ‘inn’ along the way.
Las Posadas — Jim Burklo, USA
Jim Burklo has written new lyrics (see below) for the traditional tune. These can also be found on his website Musings.
Click here to hear the tune, see the original lyrics in both Spanish and English, to see a short video and to print the sheet music.
Story, actions and singing:
At each stop (4 inns plus the final destination), everyone sings:
Help us, dear innkeeper, we’re seeking shelter
Mary is pregnant, about to deliver
Help us, dear innkeeper, find a place to stay;
Mary must rest, for the baby is now on its way!
At each of the four stops the innkeepers answer:
We have no rooms and the hour is too late
You are too poor for our high nightly rate
Go down the highway and seek a cheaper place
Maybe you’ll find one that still has some space.
At the final destination, the innkeeper sings:
Welcome, dear travellers, wand’ring so far
Stumbling along by the light of a star
We have no rooms but we’ve got a place to stay
Back in our manger we’ll make you a bed in the hay.
All sing in response:
Jesus was born in a humble little manger
Honour him now as you welcome the stranger
Offer him room in your heart and soul tonight
Join in the spirit of giving and sharing his light.
We also have posadas in Nicaragua, El Salvador and Honduras. Each place has there own style but overall a great way to have communities come together and celebrate the birth of Jesus, as well as giving hospitality to Mary and Joseph. Many of the Posadas take place in homes where people go out of their way to offer food and drinks to all who come. It´s very impressive and beautiful.
Lucy Dale, Mexico