Blogger Jeanette Larson

Celebrating Las Posadas

When we talk about winter holiday celebrations we usually think about Christmas and Hanukkah and maybe Kwanzaa. Often library programs and storytimes center on one or more of these festivities. Libraries that support El dí­a de los niños/El dí­a de los libros might want to add another celebration that is becoming popular in school and public libraries.

Las Posadas (December 16-24), celebrated throughout Latin America and in the Phillipines, re-enacts Joseph and Mary’s journey to Bethlehem and their search for shelter. Both a religious and a cultural event, community celebrations usually include a procession, followed by music and food.

In the library, share books like The Night of Las Posadas by Tomie DePaola, Uno, Dos, Tres, Posada! by Virginia Kroll, or The Gift of the Poinsettia: El regalo de la flor de nochebuena by Pat Mora. Serve Mexican pastries and hot chocolate and provide materials for a simple craft, such as making mock luminaries (also called farolitos) with paper bags and inexpensive mock tea lights. Sometimes a piñata will be available; a star shaped piñata is appropriate and generally easy to find. Instead of having children hit the piñata with a stick, use a pull-string piñata or, alternatively, keep the piñata for decoration only and provide a small zip-lock bag of treats for each child.  Fill the bags with stickers, wrapped candies, and small toys.

Las Posadas is a great way to expand holiday programming and invite families to find their way to the library.



  1. René Bue

    This year marked the 5th annual Las Posadas event at Hedberg Public Library in Janesville, WI. Each year the high school Spanish language students help in making this a very memorable event. We have had cardboard appliance boxes as houses and inns for the children to go to asking for shelter as they learn the traditional villancico (song) where Joseph asks for shelter. Students have dressed as Joseph, Mary, animals and the 3 kings. One year they made a video of Las Posadas with the students dressing as the afore-mentioned people.
    We stopped having the traditional breaking of a piñata because we always have so many children in attendance that it became unsafe. Instead we now have a piñata competition. The students make several piñatas that are judged by the event attendees. At the end of the program, we have a rifa (prize drawing) in which attendees have the opportunity to win a piñata that they can take home for their own holiday festivities.
    Next year we are planning to expand the program outside the walls of the library and involve local businesses and churches that are close to the library.
    This is a great cultural holiday that provides an opportunity for Latinos to share their customs with non-Latinos in a fun and educational way.

  2. Jeanette Larson

    Great program! I agree about the piñatas being unsafe and recommend either the pull string ones or forgoing the actual breaking in favor of little baggies of the stuff. I like your idea for older kids to make their own piñata s.

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