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Posadas

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

This evening, las posadas will begin in Macuil and presumably throughout much of Mexico.  And based on past experience, the US Macuil community and other Mexican immigrant communities will likely be hosting posadas in the US as well.

The posadas (re-)enact the attempts by Mary and Joseph to find lodging prior to the birth of Jesus.  In Macuil, representations of Joseph and Mary will be carried in a procession from the church to someone’s home who will be hosting the first posada tonight.  There, the processioners will request in song housing for Joseph and Mary which will be denied as there is no room at the inn (posada being the Spanish word for ‘inn’).  After this ritual is complete, a party will be held at the house.  The next day, the procession will proceed from there to the next house hosting a posada, repeating the process until reaching the final house on the 24th, where the biggest celebration, heralding the birth of Jesus, will be held.

This Wikipedia article seems to generally get the broad outline of the event, although I’m doubtful that all of the particulars it includes (such as the number of homes visited per night, the exact use of candles) are as universal as presented and probably don’t hold in Macuil.  While I have attended posadas both in Macuil and the US, I have not taken note of all of these fine details, and it will be interesting to pay close attention the next time I attend one, although that probably won’t be until this weekend when we are planning on visiting Macuil again.

Thinking about the posadas, though, has reminded me that my advisor, Pam Munro, worked with my friend and collaborator, Ignacio Cano, on a translation of the Christmas story (from Luke, Chapter 2) into Macuiltianguis Zapotec, which I put up on the web.  I hadn’t looked at the page in quite some time (I can’t believe it was 10 years ago that we did that), and while other things need to be scrapped, revised, or expanded, the Christmas story is still there and fully functional, though perhaps a bit slow.  The Zapotec is written in an older version of the orthography we use, and the English is a translation of the Zapotec rather than a published Bible version.  But most interestingly, I think, there are sound files of both the whole story and individual lines so you can actually hear MacZ.  Enjoy!

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