The Christian Science Monitor

No room at the inn: Mexican Posada tradition inspires US migrants

La Posada, a rich Mexican and Latin American Catholic tradition, took place after dusk in the humblest of settings on a recent evening here – a bright half-moon illuminated a plastic tent festooned with lights in a weatherworn mobile-home park.

Warmed by cinnamon-heavy Oaxacan coffee cooked on an open fire, the participants gathered for this much-anticipated nine-day Christmastime ritual were Triquis, an indigenous people from Oaxaca, Mexico, many of them fluent only in their native pre-Columbian language. They’d left their home some 2,500 miles away to become farmworkers in the fields of California’s Central Valley, picking blueberries, figs, table and raisin grapes, and asparagus, a particularly back-breaking crop. 

But the Triquis and other Latinos around the country find spiritual refuge and rejuvenation in the joy of La the Spanish word for “inn” or “shelter.” Part religion, part culinary extravaganza, the celebration originated in colonial Mexico and has since become a beloved Latino Catholic folk tradition ­re-creating the story of Mary and Joseph’s search for lodging on their journey to Bethlehem. It continues to flourish in cities and towns throughout Mexico – and increasingly in the United States.

‘I carry on that tradition’'What is your responsibility?'Outlet for social justice concerns

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