Christmas has always been a celebration of Light that vanquishes Darkness.
Now we decorate our homes with electric lighting, but before LEDs and chaser strings there were luminarias–candles set in sand and protected from the wind by a paper lantern.
In Texas communities like San Antonio, where many still celebrate Christmas with Spanish cultural traditions, luminarias are featured in Las Posadas, a series of candlelit processions that begins on December 16 and ends on Christmas Eve. A posada in an inn. Celebrants re-enact Mary and Joseph’s trek to Bethlehem over nine days, representing the nine months between the angel’s announcement and the birth of the baby Jesus. In some communities, the procession takes place on only one night, ending with hymns and carols at the church after which the children break a star-shaped piñata.
La Gran Posada in San Antonio is one of the most famous processions, beginning at Milam Park and ending at the San Fernando Cathedral. This year La Posada will take place on December 20.