Olvera Tradition: Las Posadas

Hold a candle, join the multi-night procession, and sing along.

By Alysia Gray Painter
|  Friday, Dec 6, 2013  |  Updated 4:34 PM PDT
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Olvera Tradition: Las Posadas

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Nine nights of Las Posadas? Indeed. The traditional processions start on Monday, Dec. 16.

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Many people may bemoan the overly shiny, exhausting, go-go-go aspects of the season, but what they're likely longing for, in part, is not the total absence of all social gatherings. Rather, many people are looking for more community-focused, come-together traditions, traditions that might stretch back centuries.

We enjoy many of those around Southern California. And one of the oldest and most moving is Las Posadas, a hallowed, candlelit event that is, of course, not specific to our region, but does unfurl in many fashions as Christmas Eve draws near.

And, indeed, it is a Christmas Eve happening, in many parts of the world, but on Olvera Street? Mary and Joseph's search for an inn, through song, dialogue, and slow, tune-filled stroll, is observed over nine consecutive nights.

Night one is Monday, Dec. 16, and the final night wraps on, yes, Tuesday, Dec. 24. Ballet folklorico performances are part of the evenings, which start at 6 p.m., and the breaking of piñatas, too.

Many visitors join the singing and the walk, but you are also free to observe. Take part if you wish, or not. Several shops along the historic street will remain open, meaning you can purchase a cocoa, find a bench, and listen to the music.

Indeed, it is one of our city's oldest traditions, a gathering that goes back well before the founding of Los Angeles itself.

Las Posadas is free to attend.

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