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Dec 07, 2011 | Harper Scott Clark

Salado Community Posada a Success Despite Rain

Joseph and Mary knock at the home of Dr. Doug Willingham

Neither rain nor mud nor damp and chill of night curbed the enthusiasm of some 200 teens and their parents who took to Main Street Saturday, December 3, to celebrate the community’s second annual posada.


The participants were members of Saint Joseph’s Episcopal Chapel Youth Group and Spanish language students from Belton High School and Salado High School.


The festival was staged during Salado’s annual Christmas Stroll where tourists and locals walk Main Street to see the lights and decorations.


Posada, a Spanish tradition that dates back 400 years in Mexico, celebrates the journey of Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem where along the way they ask for lodging and a place to rest.


On a one-mile route that ended at Saint Joseph’s Chapel, the procession made two stops to ask for lodging.  The couple beseeched Dr. Doug Willingham to put them up for the night.


“There’s simply no room,” Willingham replied.


A stop at the Chamber of Commerce produced the same answer. At Saint Joseph’s Chapel, the Rev. Bob Bliss told the couple that with so many tourists in town for the Christmas Stroll there was no room. But then Bliss came up with an idea. He led them to a stable at the back of the property with fresh, dry hay to make a bed for the couple and the Christ child who would soon be born.


Musical accompaniment included Pedro Quirino, Chester Porter and Hershall Seals on guitar, a brass ensemble and an antique Swiss Army truck carrying speakers and amplifiers. The students sang the para pedir posada (searching for lodging) in a call and response chorus.


Barbara Yanyez-Smith, a Spanish language teacher who is one of the event organizers, gave a loose translation. She said the first chorus asks for a place to rest. “Let me in, my wife is Maria, she is the Queen of Heaven.”


“The second chorus responds, ‘Well, if she is the Queen of Heaven why is she out in the middle of the night wandering about?’”


At the final destination there is unison of both choruses, Yanez-Smith said.


Entren santos peregrinos – come on in, we had not recognized you – we now see you are Joseph and this is your wife Maria.”


Bliss said the tradition conveys the concept that Jesus needs to be protected; Jesus needs to be seen and announced.


Afterwards participants gathered in the church courtyard to be served tamales, empanadas, hot chocolate with cinnamon and fruit punch. Small children batted a piñata for the candy inside.


Tyler Fletcher, an organizer with Yanez-Smith, said the Salado community posada is meant to impart the religious significance of the season to Salado’s Christmas Stroll – a mostly commercial event.