Delight in Tradition, Music, and Piñatas at Olvera's Las Posadas

Old songs, tasty champurrado, and a Pastorela all play a part in the nine-night observance.

What to Know

  • Dec. 16 through 24, 2017
  • Free
  • The procession begins at 7 p.m. nightly

Journey to San Miguel de Allende, or Mexico City, or Houston, or Tucson, or Santa Fe, or any number of villages and major metropolises around Mexico, Latin America, and the Southwestern United States, and you're bound to encounter a songful, flicker-bright procession in the days ahead of Christmas.

It will be full of hallowed ballads, and candlelight, and guitars, and tales of Mary and Joseph's search for an inn. It's Las Posadas, and the music-sweet participatory play, which encourages visitors to pause and behold the stroll, is a meaningful seasonal staple come the middle of December, right through to Christmas Eve.

Olvera Street regularly observes the nine nights of Las Posadas with a host of instruments, tunes, performances, treats, and piñata fun for the kids, too. 

Those nights always begin on the 16th of December each year, with a final night on Nochebuena, or Christmas Eve. And Olvera Street will again open Las Posadas on the 16th of the month, a Saturday in 2017.

The Children's Piñata opens the evening at 6:15 in the historic district's plaza area, with a 7 p.m. procession to follow (beginning at Avila Adobe).

Grupo Rondalla del Sol will bring "...the tradition of traveling serenading groups of Spain" to the songs sung, while shepherds and angels will also join the pilgrims as they walk through the marketplace.

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Statues of Mary and Joseph are carried over the first eight nights, and then, on Dec. 24? A "live Mary and Joseph" joins the procession wending through the stalls and shops.

Shall there be sweet bread to savor, and champurrado to warm the cockles, sip by sip, during the evening? Count on it. It's an Olvera Street tradition, and, as in years gone by, the treats are complimentary.

And will each night conclude with smiles and applause at the Pastorela, "A Mexican comical story of Christmas"? That, too, is part of the event.

It's free, it's rife with centuries-old tradition, and it remains an important part of the season for many Southern Californians. Stop by for a night, or more, as the procession weaves along Olvera Street, summoning memories, stories, and heartfelt connection to the past.

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