Sunday, December 18, 2011

Ashlie, Gina, and Emma's pastorela at Colegio Latino

Every school will have its pastorela before school is over as the culmination of the semester. Here are some pictures of our girls':

Emma's class

The presenters: Omar and Paulina

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Mexican Pastorela

The idea of representing the Living Nativity was first introduced by St. Francis of Asisi, who wanted to show the birth of our Savior in Bethlehem. In 1223, he built a crib and placed images of Mary, Joseph, the donkey and the ox, with the help of his friend Giovanni Velita. The images of the shepherds were also there.

In Mexico, this idea started to be represented theatrically in the XVI century with the name of Pastorela, which represent passages of the birth of Jesus.

Lucas' school teachers and principal organized the most incredible pastorela I have ever seen. We were so amazed at the involvement of the parents and the quality of the costumes and the scenery.

Lucas was the cutest lamb....

Maria, Jose, and Jesus

The little star, Mary, Joseph, and the cutest donkey...guided by the angel

Thank Goodness Lucas was protected by these beautiful angels!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Our Posada Celebration

Here are my students -responsible for an amazing Posada in our home last night. We had pinatas, wonderful food, dessert, dance, musical chairs, fireworks, and more.

The Mexican Tradition of the Posada

Christmas for Mexicans, in traditional homes and rural areas, is a religious holiday.

It is a celebration of the Nativity of Jesus Christ. In order to prepare for the day of symbolic commemoration, we have the "Posadas". These celebrations are a "Novena" or nine days before the 24 which is the "Noche Buena" or "Holy Night". However, my 7th semester students came to our home yesterday and planned a pre-Posada celebration.

These Posadas are an enactment of looking for lodging of Joseph and Mary, going to Bethlehem for the Census according to the Scriptures. Each family in a neighborhood, will schedule a night for the Posada to be held at their home, starting on the 16th of December and finishing on the 24th on Noche Buena. In our case, we decided to do it yesterday, December 9th.

Every home will have a Nativity scene. The hosts of the home (Charlotte and I) are the innkeepers, and my students were Los Peregrinos, who have to request lodging through a simple song. All carry small lit candles in their hands and four teenagers of about the same height are chosen to carry Los Peregrinos, which are two small statues of Joseph leading a donkey, which Mary is riding sidesaddle (We didn't have this in ours). The head of the procession will have a candle inside of a paper lamp shade that looks like an accordion but open at the top and it is called a "Farolito" or little lantern.

The Peregrinos will ask for lodging in three different houses but only the third one will allow them in. That will be the house that is supposed to have the Posada for that evening. !

After all the prayer is done, then it comes the party for the children. There will be a pinata (pronounce Pignata, for it has an ñ instead of an n), filled with peanuts in the shell, oranges, tangerines, sugar canes, and seldom wrapped hard candy. Of course, there will be other types of chants the children will sing while the child in turn is trying to break the Piñata with a stick while he/she will be blindfolded.

Although the Piñata was originally from Italy, it has become a Mexican tradition for celebrations where there are children involved. The Piñata was made out of a clay pot and decorated with crepe paper in different colors. Today's piñatas are made out of cardboard and paper mache techniques and decorated with crepe paper. This change was made to prevent the children from cutting their hands when going for the fruit and candy when the Piñata was broken and the clay piece would become a hazard. They have all kinds of designs besides the traditional star.

Christmas Carols at the UPCH

Last Wednesday we had an amazing time singing Christmas Carols with my 7th semester students, after they had practiced twice. We had a great time. We went to a few classrooms, sang three songs and then share candy with our audience...

We even went to visit an English class at the Centro de Idiomas where they sang Silent Night, Jingle Bells, and We Wish you a Merry Christmas.

We visited the college employees as well. It was quite a different experience for everybody as they learned about our Christmas Carols culture.

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Cheer Leading Competition

Two weeks ago, there was a cheerleading dance competion at the girls' school. They only had a week to prepare their choreography. The girls did very well.