St Andrew’s Dawson Street LEP, Crook
During Advent, starting on Advent Sunday, a Posada, a small olive wood nativity, has been making its way around the homes of Crook chapel members and the town’s residential homes before it arrives back in chapel in time for the Christmas Eve service of Holy Communion. Posada is Spanish for “lodging” or “accommodation.” The posada has its origins in the 16th century when a Mary and a Joseph from local Spanish Roman Catholic communities would dress up and journey for nine days (signifying the nine months of Mary’s pregnancy) around the homes of their village.
Certain houses were designated to be an “inn.” The head of the procession would have had a candle inside a paper lampshade. At each house, the resident would respond by singing a song and Mary and Joseph would finally be recognized and allowed to enter. Once the “innkeepers” let them in, the group of guests would come into the home and kneel around the Nativity scene to pray. Latin American countries have continued to celebrate this holiday to this day, with very few changes to the tradition. In some places, the final location may be a church instead of a home.
As the custom developed in the Spanish speaking world of Latin America, individuals began to play the various parts of Mary and Joseph with the expectant mother riding a real donkey, with attendants such as angels and shepherds acquired along the way. The procession will be followed by musicians; at the end of each night’s journey there will be Christmas carols. Children often carry poinsettias and break open sweet gifts.
A wooden nativity set now replaces real life nativity characters. Instead of processions and carols a book for prayer will accompany the Crook Posada. Chapel members have been requested, if they wish, to enter a prayer, to be gathered up in our Christmas Eve Service. So we remember our own and chapel families, broken families, and those with no family. We pray that Christ may be the centre of our family life this Christmas.
Minister, St Andrew’s Dawson Street