Las Posadas

Let Hogar Hispano help you celebrate Las Posadas.

Las Posadas is sponsored by Hogar Hispano and La Cooperativa Hispana. In future years, we look forward to helping your neighborhood - or organization - celebrate Las Posadas.

On December 15, 2001, Chapel Hill's Emerson Waldorf School hosted "Las Posadas" a Mexican Christmas ritual commemorating Joseph and Mary's attempt to find lodging in Bethlehem.

A hundred people joined the music, singing, caroling, storytelling, and traditional Posadas Christmas procession.

The procession was preceded by a "farol" (luminaria) lighting ceremony accompanied by Emerson Waldorf third-graders singing "Los Farolitos" under Sra. Sunnie Pennington's guidance.

There was piñata whacking for children; modern and folkloric Latin dance instruction, and a breath-taking demonstration of Latin ballroom dancing by Ascary Arias and Liz Kizer Arias.

Las Posadas' menu included homemade tamales, tacos dorados, mole de olla, guacamole, papas con rajas
"spiropapas," and ponche navideño

Price per serving ranged from $1.50 to $3.50

If you would like Hogar Hispano to sponsor Las Posadas for your neighorhood or organization, please contact Alan Archibald at (919)644-8000


(Las Posadas songs at bottom of page.)

History of Las Posadas and other Latin Christmas Customs

  The mighty civilizations of the Mayas, Toltecs, Chichimecas, and, finally, the Aztecs ruled Mexico in their turn. Spanish explorers discovered this strange new world in the 16th century.  In 1519, Hernán Cortés led an expeditionary army to conquer the Aztec empire - and capture its fantastic treasury of gold.  Sixteen years later, Mexico became a Spanish colony, which it remained until 1821.

  With the conquistadores came Catholic missionaries, bringing their Christian faith to the pagan land.  By a strange coincidence, the Aztecs celebrated the birth of their god Huitzilopochtli during the last days of December, around the winter solstice, at about the same time as Christmas.

  According to legend, Huitzilopochtli's mother, Coatlicue, was struck by a plumed ball of feathers while she was sweeping the steps of the temple, and in due course gave birth to the new god.  Her other sons refused to believe the story of the supernatural conception and decided to kill her, but Huitzilopochtli appeared, armed with a fire serpent, and destroyed his scheming brothers.

  The festival celebrating Huizilopochtli's birth was the most important one of the Aztec year.  It began at midnight and continued through the following day, with much singing, dancing, and speechmaking.  The Indians paraded under elaborate arches of roses, wearing their finest attire adorned with brightly tinted plumes.  Special foods were prepared, including small idols made of corn paste and cactus honey, and huge bonfires in courtyards and on the flat roofs of the houses lit up the sky for miles around.

  The missionaries, noting the similarities between their own commemoration of the birth of Christ and the Aztecs' December observances, found it a relatively simple matter to substitute a new faith for the old.  The ancient god of war with his cruel tradition of blood sacrifices was replaced by a gentle one of love and hope, represented by a tiny babe, the Christ Child.

  The first Christmas in old Mexico was celebrated in 1538 by Fray Pedro de Gante.  He invited all the Indians for twenty leagues around Mexico City to attend, and they came in droves, some by land, others by water.  Even the sick managed to come, carried in hammocks.  The Indians loved the new feast day, and adopted it wholeheartedly, adding their own colorful touches of flowers and feathers.

  So many assembled for the Christmas Masses that they spilled over into the courtyard of the church and caused such a jam that those in front were in danger of being smothered.  Those outside followed the ritual just as attentively as the ones indoors, however, and one padre later related that the natives would not miss a midnight Mass for anything in the world.

  The numbers of enthusiastic new churchgoers continued to grow over the years.  In 1587, Fray Diego de Soria, prior of the Convent of San Agustín Acolman, tried to alleviate the overcrowded situation.  He asked the Pope in Rome for permission to hold the Christmas Masses out-of-doors in the church courtyard.  It was given, and the services - held from December 16th to the 24th - were called Misas de Aquinaldo.

  Many of Mexico's present-day Christmas traditions were originally introduced during the colonial era as a means of teaching Christian morals and the Bible to the Indians.  The posadas, a nine-night series of processions reenacting Joseph and Mary's journey to Bethlehem, began in this way.  Medieval European passion plays were adapted by the missionaries for the natives, and sometimes even translated into Nahuatl, the Aztec language.  These developed into the Christmas dramas called pastorelas.  The 16th-century priests also brought the custom of smashing a gaily decorated pot called the piñata to the New World, using it as a finale to the Christmas Masses.

  Religious paintings and sculpture brought to Mexico in the 1500's very often portrayed scenes of the Nativity and other Biblical events.  The Indians greatly admired these works and eventually began to create their own interpretations of the old scenes.  The Virgin Mary's face took on a darker hue; bone structure - and dress - became more and more Indian in appearance.

  The custom of erecting a Christmas manger scene, called a nacimiento, was probably not introduced in the New World until a bit later, in the 1700's.  In any case, the small nacimiento figures, originally European in feature and dress, quickly developed their own native characteristics, too.

  In time, many of the rites once held in the churches moved to people's homes and into the public squares.  By the middle of the 1600's, images and paintings of the Virgin Mary or the Three Kings could be seen in the windows of almost every house during the holiday season.  Lights shone from every window, and balconies were illuminated with candles, protected from the wind by glass bells.  Some homeowners erected magnificent altars in front of their houses and hung gorgeous rugs and tapestries from the balconies.  The rosary was recited aloud in the streets.  People met and mingled in the main squares, enjoying the decorations and visiting busy market stalls.

  The Indians' habit of enlivening the solemn Spanish religious observances with their own gregarious practices occasionally dismayed the priests.  In 1796, the Archbishop of Mexico complained that there was so much noise during the Aquinaldo Masses - including whistles, rattles, and tambourines - and so much munching on fruit and sweets, that all respect for the holy observances themselves was being lost.  Even worse, in later years all sorts of nonreligious songs began to sneak into the Christmas Masses.

  During the colonial era, Mexico was ruled by viceroys, or governors appointed by the king.  The day before Christmas the viceroy, accompanied by his court, would make the rounds of prisons and free prisoners convicted of minor offenses.  The vicereine, his wife, would feed and clothe groups of impoverished children.  Lavish parties were given in the vice-regal palace, attended by all the upper-class society folk, with parlor games (card games were strictly forbidden), music, and refreshments.  All of these persons of distinction also visited the cathedral to hear lengthy sermons; a proper sermon in those days could easily last an hour, and often began with the Creation, to make sure that everything important was vocered.

  One custom of the early 19th century resembled Halloween trick-or-treating.  In the days preceding Christmas, bands of children carrying a small manger scene would roam the streets, stopping at every house or shop to sing and ask for treats.  The pleas were ingeniously pathetic: "My mule got lost and I am heartbroken, because she was carrying a gift for the Christ child."  Only hearts of iron would refuse to contribute to another gift for newborn babeor perhaps the besieged householder or shopkeeper merely wished to prevent mischievous pranks.

  In the adult version of this custom, the lamplighter, street cleaner, water carrier, garbage man, or postman would come around with little printed cards offering good wishes for the coming year.  In return, they would receive a Christmas gift.  This custom, like so many others dating back to colonial times, still continues today in many parts of Mexico.

  "And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.  And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.  And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem (because he was of the house and lineage of David), to be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child."
  "And so it was, that while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.  And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn."  Luke 2:1-7

  This familiar Bible story is related every year at Christmastime in churches and homes the world over.  In Mexico each December, it actually comes to life once again, as Joseph and Mary's long-ago search for lodging is reenacted for nine consecutive nights in the festive ritual of las posadas.  "Posada" means inn, or lodging, in Spanish.

  The idea of commemorating the holy family's journey to Bethlehem can be traced back to St. Ignatius Loyola, in the 16th century.  He suggested a Christmas novena, or special prayers to be said on nine successive days.  In 1580, St. John of the Cross made a religious pageant out of the proceedings, and seven years later the nine-day remembrance was introduced to the Indians in Mexico by Spanish missionaries.

  Solemn and deeply religious in feeling at first, the observances soon became imbued with a spirit of fun and, eventually, left the church and began to be celebrated in people's homes.  The posadas have become a community affair with friends, relatives, and neighbors getting together to share in the festivities, visiting a different house each evening.

  The posada begins with a procession that sets off as soon as it gets dark.  Usually a child dressed as an angel heads the procession, followed by two more children carrying figures of Mary and Joseph on a small litter adorned with twigs of pine.  Groups of boys and girls follow the lead figures, then come the grown-ups, and last of all, the musicians.  Singing or chanting special posada songs, they all walk slowly along, each person carrying a lighted candle, the children tooting on shrill whistles. When the procession reaches the house chosen for that evening, it divides into two groups, one representing the holy pilgrims, the other the innkeepers.

  The pilgrims line up behind the angel and the children bearing the figures of the Holy Family, and they file through the house until they arrive at a closed door, behind which the innkeepers have stationed themselves.  The pilgrims knock on the door and call out in song, asking for shelter.  A chorus of voices on the other side asks: "Who knocks at my door so late in the night?"  The pilgrims respond, "In the name of Heaven I beg you for lodging - my beloved wife can no longer travel, and she is weary."  But the response is a stony, hard-hearted refusal.  "This is no inn.  Go Away!"  After repeated requests for shelter, the pilgrims explain who they are, and that Mary will soon give birth to the Son of God.  The innkeepers relent and welcome the exhausted travelers: "Enter, holy pilgrims.  Come into our humble dwelling and into our hearts.  The night is one of joy, for here beneath our roof we shelter the Mother of God."

  Everyone enters the room and kneels in prayer, after which the party moves out to the patio for fireworks and fun.  Small baskets of sweets, called colaciones, are offered along with sandwiches, cookies, and a fruited punch - and then it's time for the most exciting moment of all - the breaking of the fancifully decorated, candy- and nut-filled piñata.  Sometimes there are separate parties for different age groups - one for teen-agers, and another for the younger children.  In Mexico City, especially, so many posadas are held that active partygoers can manage to attend four or five in one evening  and the festivities often go on until dawn.

  For eight nights virtually the same ceremonies are repeated.  But on the ninth evening, Christmas Eve, a particularly impressive posada takes place, during which an image of the Christ Child is carried in by two people who are called the godparents, and laid in His tiny crib in the nacimiento.

  Frances Calderón de la Barca, a Scotswoman married to a Spanish diplomat, traveled extensively in Mexico in the mid 1800's.  In her book, Life in Mexico, she described a Christmas Eve spent at the house of a noble lady that day:

  "This is the last night of what are called the Posadas, a curious mixture of religion and amusement, but extremely pretty.  We went to the Marquesa's at eight o'clock, and about nine the ceremony commenced.  A lighted taper is put into the hand of each lady, and a procession was formed, which marched all through the house, the corridors and walls of which were all decorated with evergreens and lamps, the whole party singing the Litanies.  A group of little children joined the procession.  They wore little robes of silver or gold lama, plumes of white feathers, and a profusion of fine diamonds and pearls, in bandeaus, brooches, and necklaces, white gauze wings, and white satin shoes, embroidered in gold.

  "At last the procession drew up before a door, and a shower of fireworks was sent flying over our heads, I suppose to represent the descent of the angels - for a group of ladies appeared, dressed to represent the shepherds who watched their flocks at night upon the plains of Bethlehem.  Voices, supposed to be those of Mary and Joseph, struck up a hymn, in which they begged for admittanceA chorus of voices from within refused(finally) the doors were thrown open and the Holy Family entered singing.

  "The scene inside was very pretty: a nacimiento.  Platforms, going all around the room, were covered with moss, on top of which reposed wax figures representing parts of the New Testament.  There were green trees and fruit trees, and little fountains that cast up fairy columns of water, and flocks of sheep, and a little cradle in which to lay the Infant Christ.  One of the angels held a waxen baby in her arms.  A padre took the baby and placed it in the cradle, and the posada was completed.  We then returned to the drawing room - angels, shepherds, and all, and danced till suppertime  a show for sweetmeats and cakes."

  In Mexican cities today, posadas often take place in the casas de vecindad, tenement houses, where the rooms all open onto one big patio or courtyard.  The neighbors contribute their share of the expenses, and celebrate together.  In towns and villages, the posada may start in the church courtyard, wander through the streets and end up back at the church, and the piñata will often be strung up in the village square.  Sometimes a Christmas Eve posada will have live people enacting the roles of the Holy Family, with Mary riding a donkey, and the procession concluding at a manger scene set up in a field.

  The children carry faroles, transparent paper lanterns containing lighted candles, attached to long poles.  When the posada procession reaches the nacimiento, the youngsters offer small gifts of flowers or fruit, and each makes a little speech to the Infant Jesus.  Young men portraying shepherds then appear, leading sheep and goats.  One by one each man, with the help of a friend, lifts an animal onto his shoulders.  Forming a circle, they dance while onlookers clap in rhythm and children toss firecrackers at their feet.  In another part of the field, women prepare tamales and whip hot chocolate into foam with twirling wooden sticks, getting ready for the feasting that follows.

  A truly Mexican Christmas observance, the posadas have, however, wandered north into the United States, too.  San Diego, California, presents posadas at the Mission of San Luis Rey, in the Old Town section, and in the Padua Hills where performances have been given for many years.  La Sociedad Folklórica continues the tradition in Santa Fe, and Mexican-Americans in both San Antonio, Texas, and Chicago, hold the processions annually.


More Christmas Customs

In those days a decree from Emperor Augustus was issued,
ordering a census for the entire world. [...] Everybody had to be
registered, each one in his city. Also Joseph, who came from the
lineage of David, came up from the city of Nazareth, in Galilee,
to the city of David, named Bethlehem, in Judea, to register himself
and his wife Mary, who was pregnant. Being there, the time for birth arrived,
and she gave birth to her first born son; she wrapped him in nappies and put him
in a crib, because they did not find a place in the inn.
                                                                                                                                            Luke, 2:2-7

Soon we will enjoy our first Posadas for this year in Mexico.

Las Posadas are fiestas that begin on the 16th and end on the 24th of December. In Mexico, during this period, there are many Posadas every evening.

Invited -and as usual, some non invited- guests arrive at the house where the Posada will take place, always in the evening. A group goes outside the house, with lighted candles and papers with the words of the verses to ask for Posada.

They sing:

En el nombre del Cielo
os pido posada,
pues no puede andar
mi esposa amada.
In the name of Heaven
I ask you for lodging,
because She cannot walk,
my beloved wife.
The group inside answers, also singing,
Aquí no es mesón;
sigan adelante.
Yo no puedo abrir,
no sea algún tunante.
This is no inn,
keep on going.
I won't open the door,
in case you are a truant.

Many verses are sung in this fashion, with those outside asking for a place to spend the night and the people inside the house saying, no way, until those inside "discover" who are the personalities freezing outside. Then they open the door and let the pilgrims enter. In the very traditional Posadas, a girl is dressed as the Virgin Mary, while a boy represents Saint Joseph. In some cases even a burro is present, for the Virgin to mount. Sometimes, those outside carry images of the Holy persons with them.

When they open the door to let those outside enter, they sing,

Entren, Santos Peregrinos,
reciban este rincón;
no de esta pobre morada,
si no de mi corazón.
Enter, Holy Pilgrims,
accept this dwelling;
not of this humble house,
but of my heart.

During the rest of the party we break piñatas, there are villancicos -Christmas carols- in the air and we eat the traditional things: buñuelos (very thin fried pastries covered with sugar), colación (a mixture of different candies), tamales, and ponche, fruit punch.

This beautiful tradition of the Posadas comes from the times of the Colonial period, but it is interesting to note that before the Conquest the Aztecs celebrated every year the arrival of the god Huitzilopochtli, between the 7th and the 26th of December. Under the Spanish domination, Catholic priests incorporated some days of the ancient tradition to a new set of religious festivities.

One of those first Christian festivities in Mexico were Aguinaldo -Christmas presents- masses. After Holy Mass, piñatas were broken, people sang villancicos and they watched the performing of pastorelas. There were nacimientos (depictions of the birth of Jesus Christ) on display for everybody to visit and admire.
The Náhuatl people used to represent plays enacting important historical events and stories taken from real life. Missionaries incorporated this custom to the Christian holidays, so during the nine days of the Posadas many pastorelas were performed on stage. These pastorelas are dramatic pieces that represent the trip of Saint Joseph and the Virgin Mary to register themselves in the Roman census taking place in those days, or the hardships they suffered while looking in vain for lodging. The roles in these pastorelas included, besides Joseph and Mary, shepherds and shepherdesses (pastores, hence the name, pastorelas), sheep, burros, and perhaps a little devil or two.

These pastorelas played an important part in the evangelization of the colonies. Franciscans and Augustines, among others, used these representations to accompany the religious activities of the day, making the festivities more attractive and colourful. As it was, this custom was preserved and is still cherished among the Mexican people, a people who love family traditions and vivid fiestas.

It is said that Marco Polo brought with him the idea of piñatas: vessels adorned with color paper, that in China, were broken by hitting them with sticks to commemorate Springtime. Italians adapted the action to symbolize the victory of Good over Evil. In Lent they made piñatas with seven colored paper points, each one representing a capital sin. The stick that broke these sins played the part of Christian faith.

In Mexico the piñata assumed this meaning and then some others. One of them: It is the devil that holds in his belly all that is good in this world, just as the olla inside the piñata is filled with fruit like mandarin, orange and sugar cane; candy and gifts. The stick (Christian faith), put to good use by the girl or boy who strikes at the piñata (the hard work of women and men in this world), breaks the treasure's chest for the benefit of all.
The piñata is firmly tied to a rope, and then hung from a pole or the branch of a tree. Someone holds the other end of the rope, pulling the piñata up and down to make it a more elusive target. It is customary to let the youngest children start the hitting and then to give the opportunity to the grown-ups. The little ones will be able to see the moving piñata when they try to hit it, while the elders take their turn later, eyes covered with a handkerchief or shawl.

While the hitter is doing his or her best to break the piñata, people surrounding the action sing in a chorus,

Dale, dale, dale,
no pierdas el tino;
porque si lo pierdes,
pierdes el camino.
Hit it, hit it, hit it,
don't lose aim;
because if you lose it,
you will lose your way.

Eventually someone, able or lucky enough to accomplish the task, will break the olla inside the piñata. Fruit, candy and gifts fall to the floor, for everybody to rush to gather whatever they can from the scattered goodies.
After piñatas, dinner is served. Tamales with atole, and crunchy buñuelos for desserts. Hot ponche will help to warm the cold winter evening. For the children, ponche made from seasonal fruits, like tejocote, guava, plum, mandarin, orange, or prune, sweetened with piloncillo (a brown sugar), and perfumed with cinnamon sticks or vanilla. For the grown-ups, the same ponche, but with piquete (sting), which is a bit of rum or tequila added to the potion to make it happier. There are as many ponche recipes as there are grannies in Mexico. In Colima, for instance, they prepare a delicious concoction made of milk, sugar, orange leaves and vanilla, grated coconut and a drop of rum.

When the Posada is about to end, every guest receives a small gift, or aguinaldo, usually a package containing cookies, dried and fresh fruit, and colación (assorted and colourful candies). Now is the time to sing villancicos, carols that talk about the good news given to the shepherds by the angels, that our Savior was born. A very old tradition calls for everybody to gather in front of the nacimiento (the nativity scene) to sing villancicos to the newborn child.

Traditional nacimientos picture the birth of Jesus. It seems than Saint Francis of Assisi was the first one to come out with the idea of representing with figures the scene in the stable of Bethlehem. That first nacimiento was placed inside a cave in Greccio, Italy, in 1223, to later become a well established tradition in that country.
The excellence of Mexican artisans helped in a significant way to the development of this custom in our country. A typical nacimiento shows Jesus in a crib, with the Virgin Mary and Saint Joseph at His side. Inside the portal (porch), which can take the form of a cave, a stone house or a cabin, there are several animals surrounding the Holy persons: burros, oxen, sheep, cows, horses. Additional personalities who take part are shepherds, angels, pilgrims, and the Kings from the East who came to adore Him. The star they followed to Bethlehem always crowns the nacimiento, giving it light and color.

Soon we will enjoy our first Posadas down here.

These traditions are alive and well in Mexico, thank God, in spite of the noise and hurried pace of our so called modern life.

This is a time for joy. This is a time for children. And as I watch them play and sing and have fun, I know I will remember my own childhood. I will remember those who are now gone, and I will think about the future.
Funny that events that occurred so many years ago bring us to think about the future. The only answer to this apparent paradox is, Hope. Hope in the future, hope in this Mexico that I love and which suffers so much. Hope in this world full of injustice, misery and pain. But a world that holds the promise of the Divine Child who wanted to come here to become one of us, to show us how precious human life is. To give us hope in ourselves.
And to teach us to live with yet another paradox: that the only way to save ourselves, is to think and act not on behalf of our own selves, but on behalf of those around us.


Las Posadas are a series of nine charming children's processions which are uniquely, genuinely and exclusively Mexican, seemingly invented by the early Spanish missionaries solely to comfort and convert the former Aztecs.

The tradition of the nine days of processions (Posadas) began soon after the arrival of the Spaniards in Mexico. Clever San Ignacio de Loyola created the custom to teach the story of the birth of Jesus and more importantly to coincide with the nine day Fiestas of the Sun, which celebrated the virgin birth of the Aztec Sun god, Huitzilopchtli, from the 16th through the 24th of December. Special permission was received from Rome to celebrate nine "Christmas Masses" to represent the nine months of Mary's pregnancy.
This December, children in the villages here at Lake Chapala, will set out each evening from the church for a pilgrimage to a different neighborhood. This procession symbolizes the journey made by Joseph and Mary from Nazareth to Bethlehem and Joseph's search for shelter (Posada) at an Inn (also Posada). The peregrinos (pilgrims) include Joseph leading Mary on a burro, an Angel, shepherds, kings, and a large flock of excited, giggling, jostling, bumping, wiggling, shiny-eyed others, most with bright ribbon and flower decked shepherds' staffs which they tap in time to the music.

The lovely verses of the traditional Posada song are exchanged back and forth between Joseph and the group outside each house and the Innkeeper and the group inside. At each location, Joseph asks for entry, until finally at a prearranged location, the Innkeeper and friends sing from inside the shelter (house):
"Enter holy pilgrims, receive this humble corner, that while we know it is a poor lodging, it is given as the gift of heart."

And the party begins, with joyous music, piñatas, with candy, fruit, and treats for everyone. Like the fiestas held by the ancients to honor Huitzilopochtli, the Mexican Posadas are full of the deepest of feelinglaughter mixed with deep spirituality, combined with the Mexican's thirst for diversion from the daily sameness of survival. This is truly a merrily religious celebration, and for most of the children, far more anticipated than Christmas itself.


Las Posadas Canciones (Songs)

Outside Singers
En el nombre del cielo os pido posada pues no puede andarmi esposa amada.          
In the name of Heaven I beg you for lodging, for she cannot walkmy beloved wife.

Inside Response

Aquí no es mesón, sigan adelante. Yo no debo abrir, no sea algún tunante.                    
This is not an innso keep goingI cannot openyou may be a rogue.

No seas inhumano, tennos caridad, que el Dios de los cielos te lo premiará.          
Don't be inhuman; Have mercy on us.The God of the heavenswill reward you for it.

Ya se pueden iry no molestar porque si me enfadoos voy a apalear.                    
You can go on nowand don't bother us, because if I become annoyed I'll give you a trashing.

Venimos rendidosdesde Nazarét, yo soy carpintero de nombre José.           
We are worn outcoming from Nazareth. I am a carpenter, Joseph by name.

No me importa el nombre, déjenme dormir, pues que yo les digo que no hemos de abrir.                    
I don't care about your name: Let me sleep, because I already told youwe shall not open up.

Posada te pide, amado casero, por sólo una noche la Reina del Cielo.           
I'm asking you for lodging dear man of the house Just for one nightfor the Queen of Heaven.

Pues si es una reina quien lo solicita, ¿cómo es que de noche anda tan solita?                    
Well, if it's a queenwho solicits it, why is it at night that she travels so alone?

Mi esposa es María, es Reina del Cieloy madre va a serdel Divino Verbo.          
My wife is Mary. She's the Queen of Heaven and she's going to be the mother of the Divine Word.

¿Eres tú José? ¿Tu esposa es María? Entren, peregrinos,no los conocía.                    
Are you Joseph? Your wife is Mary? Enter, pilgrims; I did not recognize you.

Dios pague, señores, vuestra caridad, y que os colme el cielo de felicidad.          
May God pay, gentle folks, your charity, and thus heaven heap happiness upon you.

¡Dichosa la casa que alberga este día a la Viren hermosa María!                    
Blessed is the house that shelters this day the pure Virgin, the beautiful Mary.

Upon opening the doors at the final stop, the tune changes, the pilgrims enter,
and all sing these final verses in unison:

Entren, Santos Peregrinos, reciban este rincón, que aunque es pobre la morada, os la doy de corazón.          
Enter, holy pilgrims, receive this corner, for though this dwelling is poor, I offer it with all my heart.

Oh, peregrina madre, oh, bellísima María. Yo te ofrezco el alma mía para que tengáis posada.          
Oh, graced pilgrim, oh, most beautiful Mary. I offer you my soulso you may have lodging.

Humildes peregrinos Jesús, María y José, el alma doy por ellos,mi corazón también.          
Humble pilgrims, Jesus, Mary and Joseph, I give my soul for themAnd my heart as well.

Cantemos con alegría todos al considerarque Jesús, José y Maríanos vinieron a honrar.          
Let us sing with joy, all bearing in mind that Jesus, Joseph and Maryhonor us by having come.

El Tambor

El camino que lleva a Belén
Va hasta el valle que la nieve cubrió
Los pastorcillos quieren ver a su rey
Le traen regalos en su humilde zurrón
Ropa pon pon Ropa pon pon

Ha nacido en el portal de Belén
El niño Dios.
Yo quisiera poner a tus pies
Algún presente que te agrade al señor
Mas tu ya sabes que soy pobre también
Y no poseo que un viejo tambor
Ropa pon pon Ropa pon pon


Los Pastores

Los pastores a Belén corren presurosos
Llevan de tanto correr los zapatos rotos.
Ay ay ay que alegre van
Ay ay ay que si volverán

Con la pan pan pan
Con la de de de
Con la pan
Con la de
Con la pandereta y las castañuelas.

Un pastor se tropezó
A media ladera
Un borreguillo pisó
Ese no se queda
Ay ay ay que si volverán

Con la pan pan pan
Con la de de de
Con la pan
Con la de
Con la pandereta y las castañuelas.


La Virgen Está Lavando

La virgen está lavando
Y tendiendo en el romero
Los pastorcillos cantando
Y el romero floreciendo.

Pero mira como beben
Los peces en el río
Pero miran como beben
Por ver a Dios nacido.
Beben y beben y vuelven a beber
Los peces en el río
Por ver a Dios nacer.

La virgen está lavando
Con muy poquito jabón
Se estropearon sus manos
Madre de mi corazón.

Pero mira como beben
Los peces en el río
Pero miran como beben
Por ver a Dios nacido.
Beben y beben y vuelven a beber
Los peces en el río
Por ver a Dios nacer.

La virgen se está peinando
Entre cortina y cortina
Sus cabellos son de oro
Su peine de plata fina

Pero mira como beben
Los peces en el río
Pero miran como beben
Por ver a Dios nacido.
Beben y beben y vuelven a beber
Los peces en el río
Por ver a Dios nacer.


Piñata Breaking Song
(sung to encourage blindfolded children to whack away)

Dale, dale, dale,
no pierdas el tino;
porque si lo pierdes,
pierdes el camino.

Hit it, hit it, hit it,
don't lose aim;
because if you lose it,
you will lose your way.

         ¡Feliz Navidad!