Las Posadas is a traditional folk custom celebrated in Mexico at Christmastime. In this version two children, representing Joseph and Mary, search for a place to stay in Bethlehem. They go to a different house each night, asking to be allowed to stay there, but are turned away until the ninth night. At the ninth house they are invited in, and a joyous celebration is held.
This playlet is an adaptation for boys and girls everywhere. It might become a part of a special family Christmas tradition or it could be used as a program in a classroom.
The words of the songs have a special meaning for us today and can be learned easily as they are sung. The accompaniment can be played by an inexperienced musician. You might also talk about the meaning of brotherhood and make up other words that you feel would be more appropriate to your area than the ones here.
After you produce the play in your own language, it might be fun to repeat it in at least one other language such as English, Danish, French, German, Japanese or Spanish.
Translations of these songs (one verse only of “Pilgrim Song”) in these languages are on page 6. You could sing the one translated verse over and over or have someone you know translate other verses.
Arrange the groups representing the nine households around the room. If there are not enough people for nine groups, those assembled could move to different areas of the room to be other households. If there are more people than those needed for Mary, Joseph, and the nine groups, the rest could accompany Joseph and Mary carrying paper lanterns. Costumes and animals can be made from grocery bags (see illustration). Joseph leads the donkey. The sheep should be with the last household group.
Joseph and Mary walk to the first household group, singing the “Pilgrim Song”:
The people of the house are unkind and sing a “Refusal Song”:
At the ninth house, the people sing the “Welcome Song” (to the same melody as the “Refusal Song”). With friendly smiles they take Joseph and Mary by the hands and bring them into their house.
Then all the players come together, form a circle facing Mary and Joseph who are in the center, and sing the “Welcome Song.” As they do so, they go through welcoming motions:
Enter in and welcome—all walk to center and raise hands high to make a star as on a Christmas tree.
We’ll be friends with you—take steps backward with hands going down and out, to resemble the lower branches of a Christmas tree.
We are all God’s children—walk to center again, raising hands high.
So we love you, too—drop arms around those on each side and form a tight circle of love.
Canción De Los Viajeros (Pilgrim)
La Bienvenida (Welcome)
Le Chant du Pelerin (Pilgrim)
L’Air Du Refus (Refusal)
Chant de Bienvenue (Welcome)
Kangei No Ata (Welcome)
Christmas Playlet Costumes
Costume suggestions by Michael Johnson, age 10; Tami Boehm, age 10; Jay Wolf, age 10; Laura Harris, age 9; Jeff Freeland, age 8; and Jon Harris, age 6, all from Camarillo, California.
You will need: large, brown paper sacks, crayons, colored paper, paste, tape, scissors, and stapler. Look carefully at illustrations for help in making costumes.
Veil: Cut circle in middle of sack for face. Cut half circle in top of sack, cut openings on sides for arms, and decorate with crayons.
Coat: Cut hole in side of sack at bottom for head to fit through. Then cut slit up front of sack to head opening. Cut openings on sides for arms, then color.
Cap: Measure head size and cut strip of paper 6″ wide and long enough to fit head when two ends are joined. Cut 3″ slits down the length of paper about 2″ apart. Staple slits overlapping each other, and then tape two ends of paper strip together.
Donkey: Cut eye and nose openings in front of sack. Ears are cut out of sides of sack and folded to stick out. Add clipped paper for mane and then color.
Tunic: Cut square opening in sack at top, cut square in each side for armholes, and color.
Head: Cut eye and arm openings in sack and add paper strips curled around pencil for mustache.
Turban: Cut opening in front of sack for face and opening in back for back of head, then color.