Among the dozens of activities and performances filling the 30-day Christmas Traditions festival in St. Charles is the Spanish heritage jewel entitled “Las Posadas.”
The traditional story of the journey of Mary and Joseph, and their search for lodging, is reenacted in a 10-block procession of carolers, historic characters, the Lewis & Clark Fife and Drum Corps and hundreds of visitors participating in the Christmas music.
“We invite our guests to bring lanterns for the journey along Main Street,” said Mayor Sally Faith. “Or if they prefer, our Flower Girls have candles for sale prior to the event. The Las Posadas evening finishes with a complete nativity scene reenactment, followed by the ceremonial lighting of a special Yule Log.”
Traditionally a nine-day celebration started in Spain, Las Posadas is symbolic of Joseph’s and Mary’s journey to Bethlehem and their search for shelter prior to the birth of Christ.
In English, Las Posadas translates to “the inns” or “the shelters.” Dating to the 16th century, the symbolic reenactment begins with a procession of village families, called pilgrims (led by children and followed by adults and musicians) seeking shelter for the night.
The pilgrims travel to a different “host” home in the village each of the nine nights, looking for lodging and carrying small lit candles. They are turned away from many homes before finally finding refuge. Upon entering their destination, the families pray together and sing. Their prayers are followed by joyous celebration.
Join us in St. Charles for a beautiful reenactment of the Spanish tradition of Las Posadas at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 1. The event is hosted by Main Street Church.
Take a step back in time and join the procession down South Main, with Mary and Joseph, as they look for room in the Inn. At Frontier Park, experience the retelling of the Christmas Story in narrative and song. Watch as the St. Charles Riverfront Christmas tree is lit. Join in the singing of carols around the traditional Yule Log bonfire.
From all of us in St. Charles, best wishes for a very blessed holiday season! For information about the 2012 Christmas Traditions festival – Where Christmas Past Comes to Life – please visit the Historic St. Charles website or the St. Charles Christmas Traditions website.
Submitted by Carol Felzien, director of communication, Greater Saint Charles Convention & Visitors Bureau.