Which country celebrates Christmas with posadas and piñatas?
In Mexico, Christmas is celebrated from December 12th to January 6th. In December, children often perform the 'Posada' processions or Posadas. Posada is Spanish for lodging.
For the Posadas, the outside of houses are decorated with evergreens, moss and paper lanterns. Children call at the homes of friends and neighbors and sing a song at each home. They sing about Joseph and Mary asking for a room in the house.
But the children are told that there is no room in the house and that they must go away. Eventually they are told there is room and are welcomed in. When the children go into the house they say prayers of thanks and then have a party with food, games and fireworks.
Each night a different house holds the Posada party. At the final Posada, on Christmas Eve, a manger and figures of shepherds are put on to the board. When the Posada house has been found, a baby Jesus is put into the manger and then families go to midnight mass.
A game that is often played is a piñata. A piñata is a decorated clay or papier-mâché jar filled with sweets and hung from the ceiling or tree branch. The piñata is often decorated something like a ball with seven peaks around it. The peaks or spikes represent the 'seven deadly sins'.
Piñata's can also be in the form of an animal or bird. To play, children are blind-folded and take it in turns to hit the piñata with a stick until it splits open and the sweets pour out. Then the children rush to pick up as many sweets as they can.