Las Posadas at AHS

Caroline Li, Staff Writer

Last Wednesday, Dec. 7, was Arcadia High School’s (AHS) annual Las Posadas celebration; students taking all levels of Spanish participated by bringing home-cooked meals to celebrate the traditional holiday and immerse themselves in what Latin American culture has to offer.

Taking place from the end of school to 7 p.m., students from every grade gathered in E-Row to set up for the event as well as drop off food and drinks. Intricate papel picado banners ran up and down the halls, filtering afternoon sunlight through their paper frames and adding a splash of color to the scene. A few students passing by even stopped to read from posters recounting the history of Las Posadas.

The origin of the holiday, as the posters elucidated, is as follows. The word “posadas” in Spanish translates to “inns”, a nod to the biblical story about Joseph and Mary’s pilgrimage to find winter lodging in Bethlehem. To honor their harsh struggle, people in modern times participate in a procession led by a child dressed as an angel and go from door to door singing a traditional song asking for lodging. They are repeatedly refused until they reach their final destination, symbolizing the trek Mary and Joseph had to endure until they were allowed shelter.

“The Las Posadas event was a fun, wonderful event which introduced and explained Spanish culture and their routine during [the] Christmas holidays,” said junior Amritha Kumaran.

She recalls playing “loteria,” or Spanish bingo, and watching a play held by AP Spanish students called “Los Reyes Magos” about the three wise men from the Bible. As Spanish students received extra credit for attending the event, Kumaran happily notes that she got to increase her grade by learning about Spanish culture and eating delicious food.

“The play was very fun,” said junior Justina Liu. “You can tell that the seniors put a lot of work into it. It was also really crowded.”

Liu also mentioned that next year they should reserve more classrooms for the event to accommodate all the students.

Besides Las Posadas, the AHS celebration also spotlighted Día de Los Reyes—also known as Three Kings Day or Epiphany—an important Latin American holiday that takes place on Jan. 6. Día de Los Reyes is a celebration of the three wise men (also known as the magi) and their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh; children receive gifts on this day rather than Christmas and imbibe upon a type of delicious-looking sweet bread made from candied fruit called Roscón de Reyes, whose name translates into “Wreath of the Kings.” Finally, in the afternoon, families gather to watch the cabalgata, or parade, which features dancers and floats that throw treats for onlookers to catch.

Las Posadas traditionally takes place from Dec. 16 to Dec. 24 and is celebrated in some parts of the United States and throughout Latin America. Besides food and drink, celebrations often feature a piñata shaped as a star (which symbolizes the star that guided the three wise men to Jesus) for children to break open, inside of which hide all sorts of treats and goodies. At AHS, students and faculty alike congregated in E-Row to share food, conversation, and culture, fostering an interest in and a deeper understanding of Latin American culture and traditions.