USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘mary’
Customs
Holidays
Rituals, festivals, holidays

Posadas

I interviewed my informant, Brianna, in the study lounge of the band office. Because of her upbringing in Mexican culture, she was able and eager to share a lot of folklore and folk traditions. One thing she wanted me to document was Posadas, which she learned about from her grandmother and her mother. The following is the information she shared with me during the interview:

 

Posadas are special events leading up to Christmas. It’s a movement of the community or church that happened once a week a few weeks leading up Christmas day. The community members follow someone dressed as Mary and Joseph to someone’s home. The home welcomes them in, and they have a big party.

 

My informant made sure to note that in her mother’s village, they put the woman portraying Mary on a live donkey for added effect.

 

She used to do it in her neighborhood back home (San Siro, San Luis Potosi). Everyone was invited for food and a party. A portion of the people were invited early for food, usually close friends and family. Then the whole town is invited after the dinner for the party and music.

 

This all leads up to Christmas day. On Christmas, everyone celebrates at home — which is where everyone celebrates the birth of Jesus. A certain ritual also involves putting a doll figure of baby Jesus in a manger. My informant noted that her grandmothers was 10X bigger than the other dolls because it’s the most important thing in the display.

 

I asked my informant if she had any other thoughts, to which she responded: “The first time I did it, I was in Mexico, so it was pretty wild.”

 

Analysis

I have never heard of such extravagant pageantry to celebrate the Christmas season. This festival in particular is very important because it brings the community together and affirms their identity. It’s unclear whether everyone partakes in the celebration because they are Christian, or just because they are part of the community. Regardless, Posadas is obviously a very important annual event that encourages synthesis through performance.

 

Folk Beliefs

Promise from Blessed Margaret Mary Alacoque

My informant told me of an old Irish belief that he knew called the Promise from Blessed Margaret Mary Alacoque:

“If you go to Mass and Communion on nine successive first Fridays of the month you will be allowed to repent your sins on your deathbed.”

My informant made a point of making sure that I knew that Margaret Mary was “Blessed” and not a “Saint”. He told me that he personally had never done what the belief said, but that he still has some time left to do so before he plans on dying.

Again, the connection between Irish superstitions/beliefs and religion is very clear. This, like many others, is also linked to fear. In this case it is the fear of dying and not being forgiven for your sins.

A version of a similar belief in which going to church nine fridays in a row will grant you the ability to repent your sins appears in authored literature in:

Kippley, John F. A Catholic Prayer Book. Lulu, 2005. Print.

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