The annual tradition of Las Posadas begins Tuesday anywhere there are Latins or Spanish.
In Costa Rica, entire neighborhoods participate. The Biblioteca Nacional is kicking off the nine-days of Las Posada Tuesday from 2 to 4 p.m.
Las Posadas means lodgings, and the tradition represents the effort as recounted in the Bible for Joseph and Mary to find lodging in Bethlehem. Their efforts were unsuccessful, and Jesus Christ was born in a stable where the couple had retreated, according to the biblical acccounts.
The national library plans to have an actor and actress reenacting the story along with Christmas villancicos or songs. This is just a one-day event, but the traditional Las Posadas lasts for nine days.
Each evening the faithful join in a candle-lighted procession following Mary and Joseph in a search for accommodations. They are denied entry at eight homes, but at a designated ninth home, all enter for
prayer and then singing and traditional snacks.
The nine days are supposed to represent the nine months Mary was pregnant. And every night has a theme in which a few biblical verses pertaining to the topic are read.
The tradition can be documented to be at least 100 years old in Costa Rica. In México the tradition is 400 years old and may be a merger of Christian and Aztec celebrations.