Las Posadas at Mount St Joseph
Posada is Spanish for "lodging", or "accommodation"; it is said in plural because it is celebrated more than one day in that period. The nine-day novena represents the nine months of pregnancy,specifically the pregnancy of Mary carrying Jesus.
Two people dress up as Mary and Joseph. Certain houses are designated to be an "inn". The head of the procession will have a candle inside a paper lampshade. At each house, the resident responds by singing a song and Mary and Joseph are finally recognized and allowed to enter. Once the "innkeepers" let them in, the group of guests come into the home and kneel around the Nativity scene to pray (typically, the Rosary). Latin American countries have continued to celebrate this holiday to this day, with very few changes to the tradition. In some places, the final location may be a church instead of a home.
Individuals may actually play the various parts of Mary (María) and Joseph with the expectant mother riding a real donkey (burro), with attendants such as angels and shepherds acquired along the way, or the pilgrims may carry images of the holy personages instead. Children may carry poinsettias. The procession will be followed by musicians, with the entire procession singing posadas such as pedir posada. At the end of each night's journey, there will be Christmas carols (villancicos), children will break open star-shaped piñatas to obtain candy and fruit hidden inside, and there will be a feast. Piñatas are traditionally made out of clay. It is expected to meet all the invitees in a previous procession.
At Mount St Joseph we are honoured to join in the celebration of the Las Posadas festival along with every Catholic school in Bolton, as we join together to replicate the festival with statues of Mary and Joseph visiting each and every Catholic school in Bolton during the advent season.