Las Posadas

“Chocolate” is the most popular character in the posada that takes place in barrio El Cerillo, San Cristóbal de Las Casas. No wonder. He’s a furry grey, petite, well mannered, ever so patient burro who carries Mary around the barrio while Joseph searches for a place to stay. Every afternoon around 4:45 between December 16 and 24, Chocolate makes his appearance. The children crowd around the doors of the church courtyard and wait for him, the star performer.


Mary in her cowboy hat and Joseph in his beard then lead the procession along with an angel, adults with candles, and bundled up children. Each afternoon they visit one or more homes and sing the traditional songs, begging for shelter. On December 24 families congregate in the pretty white and maroon church on the top of the hill, and after the service they go home and eat the special foods of the season: atole, a hot drink made primarily of corn, sugar, water, and spices; or ponche, a hot fruit punch drink often spiked with tequila; pork, turkey, and chicken; and sweet breads and cookies of all kinds. On Christmas eve some families also celebrate with piñatas.


We love this celebration of posadas and encourage our friends to enjoy at least one out of the nine processions. Climb the stairs off Calle Cristobal Colon, walk one block up and one block to the left and you’ll see the park on your right. Or you can get there by walking up one long block to the East of the Santo Domingo church and crafts market.

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