Las Posadas, or The Inns, is a Mexican traditional reenactment of Joseph and Mary’s search for lodging in which to have a baby.
The search for lodging – the biblical narrative of Joseph and Mary looking for a safe place to have a baby resonates with the plight of refugees around the world. In Mexico, the story is acted out every Christmas in song with dialogue between José and several sleepy householders.
The first householder is only mildly annoyed at being woken in the middle of the night, but the next gets increasingly angry as a persistent José pleads for shelter. Finally, the last innkeeper is won over when he hears that the girl on a burro is the Queen of Heaven, about to give birth to the Sun of Justice. Everybody joins in as he sings, “Forgive me, holy travelers! I didn’t know who you were.” Children play an important part in this folk custom, and several lovely melodies are associated with the journey from house to house.