Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas Traditions: Guatemala

This year we will be exploring how people celebrate Christmas in a few of the countries where we get our coffee from. Part of getting to know your coffee is getting to know the people that you get it from.  Christmas is a big deal in most of the countries we import coffee from, and so we want to take a moment to honor those traditions.

Today I'd like to focus on Guatemala. Not only does Guatemala produce some of the best and brightest coffee on the planet, it also celebrates christmas a bit different then we do here in the United States.

Nine days before Christmas there is something called a "posada procession" that begins. In this ritual statues of Mary and Joseph are carried around seeking shelter. They are let into a new house every night for nine days. As they are carried drums are played and fireworks are lit as there is a celebration around the statues. When they arrive at the destination there is a carol that is sung and a set of ritual questions are asked. Eventually Mary and Joseph are let into the house. They are placed in the "nacimiento"(a Latin American nativity scene) where they will remain until the next night when the procession will continue to the next house.

The procession is quite the party. There is punch and tamales for everyone. People have a dance party together when Mary and Joseph are finally let in.

On Christmas eve, not only are Mary and Joseph let it, but Jesus is added to the nacimiento. When this happens the biggest part of all happens.

There is a large German population in Guatemalla so Christmas trees have made their was into the nacimiento. At the final house presents are left under the tree on Christmas morning for the children as gifts from the Christ Child. Gifts for adults are not opened until new years day.

On Christmas Eve there is a Midnight Mass that follows the posada and after the mass there is a full supper!

1 comment:

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