Atendees at the Mision in the Convento on the Plaza. Valley Daily Post photo
Las Posadas Begins Nine Day “Novena” At Plaza de Española Misión Convento
By ROBERT A. NARANJO
Plaza Misión Convento – Las Posadas began the nine-day “novena” (prayer vigil) Dec. 15 with prayers, songs, musicians, food, and a feeling of joy and gladness to experience something so profoundly beautiful in all definitions of the word. This occurred all over New Mexico and one staging was in downtown Española.
The “actors” and musicians that were at the Plaza de Española Misión Convento for the first day of Las Posadas are from La Iglesia de Santa Cruz de la Cañada. And in attendance too, was Sister Angie Gonzales whom is largely credited with reviving the event at Santa Cruz over 3O years ago event goers said. One gentleman there to see Las Posadas said to, “…make sure to give Jerry Torres credit, too, for helping start up Las Posadas in Santa Cruz with Sister Angie.”
Actors for the Posadas. Valley Daily Post photo
A Christmas favorite for many northern New Mexicans, Las Posadas is the reenactment of Mary and Joseph’s search and struggle to find “posada” or loosely translated, “a place to stay,” after the Roman Emperor Augustus called for everyone to report to Bethlehem for a census and to pay their taxes over 2 thousand years ago.
Most northern New Mexicans have an idea what the Posadas are about and although it is a religious and culturally significant event for Hispanic Catholics worldwide, it is a charming staging of the struggle that Mary and Joseph went through to find “room at the inn.”
According to historians, Las Posadas came to northern New Mexico with the Spanish over 4OO years ago when Gov. Don Juan de Oñate led several hundred Spanish setters of several ethnicities to establish the first capital and seat of government in what is now the U.S. In addition to Las Posadas, the Spanish brought other religious and cultural institutions still found in New Mexico, for example, “Los Penitentes” the lay brotherhood dedicated to the passion of Jesus Christ and, of course, the Catholic Church.
There was a good size crowd at the Plaza Misión Convento to see Las Posadas and the entire complex was adorned with decorations inside and out. The farolitos, placed strategically outside the Misión and Convento, were breathtaking as they flickered and glowed softly in the cold New Mexico night.
Mayor Alice Lucero addressed the audience and gave credit to Sister Angie for helping keep Las Posadas alive in the area, and to the musicians for their beautiful music, to Councilor and Mayor Pro Tem, Peter Valdez, whom was responsible for the farolitos, and she also thanked everyone for attending. She invited everyone to stay and enjoy a meal that is a tradition with Las Posadas. The Posadas are a northern New Mexico Christmas tradition that is a must see for anyone who has not been to one.
The end of the nine-day Las Posadas Novena will be held Dec. 23 at Marion Hall at La Iglesia de Santa Cruz at 6 p.m. where the same group will celebrate Mary and Joseph’s success in finding posada with the help of a kindly innkeeper that had no room at his inn but allowed the use of his barn where Baby Jesus was born.