The "pastorela" of good and evil
It's "posada" time once again in Cancun! In towns with a bit more history, this would mean embracing the traditional events of the season, children going door to door with "La Rama" singing for coins, neighbourhoods filled with processions of candle-bearing folks singing the "Pidiendo Posada" song and sharing ponche and hot chocolate, recreating Joseph and Mary's search for shelter. This is my ninth Christmas spent in Mexico and I must be honest....I've never experienced the "traditional" posada! It may exist, probably does, but "posada" seems to have a different meaning in modern Cancun. In my experience, there are three kinds of Cancun posadas.
1. The House Party Posada
Any excuse is a good excuse for a fiesta, and Christmas is as good as any. House parties flourish at this time of year, friends and family gathering together to eat, drink and be merry. I've only been to one house party posada where the "Pidiendo Posada" song was sang and it was done after several bottles of tequila had been polished off. People wear their best chanklas and sparkly blouses and of course there is FOOD. Carne asada, tamales, or pizza and definitely a cake or flan. Everyone will bring a little something to share, lots of beer and certainly good holiday vibes.
Max's First Grade Christmas Salsa Dance Squad
2. The School Posada
Every year schools around the city hold their annual Christmas posada. Now, I didn't have any experience with kids back in Canada, but if memory serves from my own childhood, these are pretty much like normal Christmas concerts "north of border", but with a little Mexican flavour. The kids dress up for their parts, angels and devils, shepherds or snowmen, singing Christmas carols and putting on the "pastorela". The "pastorelas" put a humourous spin on the story of Joseph and Mary seeking shelter, full of "albur" (double sense) and "bombas" (traditional jokes from the Yucatan which are pretty "punny"), even when done by tiny kindergarten students. Piñatas are broken, some child always ends up crying on stage and the sugar-loaded munchkins meet Santa and get small gifts. This year Max's school put on quite a production, the school band played "Color Esperanza", there was a multilingual Christmas rap, break dancing, a "Cirque de Soleil" number with hula hoops and a presentation in English on "Christmas in Canada" (thanks Miss Sharon!) Max's first grade class did a fabulous salsa dance routine, not exactly what I think of for Christmas but it had all of us in the audience clapping and screaming as these six and seven year olds brought the "Azucar!" to the festivities.
3. The Corporate Posada
The corporate posada is akin to the company Christmas party thrown by every company around the world. Held in hotel ballrooms or restaurants, banquet food for hundreds, watered down drinks and a DJ that tries to please everyone and usually ends up pleasing no one. We eat, we dance like fools and try not to get drunk in front of the boss. Everyone sits patiently through the speeches, applauds politely, anticipating THE event of the night. Nope, it's not a piñata at the grown up parties, it´s the raffle! Every good corporate posada has giveaways and lots of them. In past years I've won a television, coffee maker, camera, dishes, I almost always walk away with something from the fiestas. This year I've got my eyes on an iPad (come on corporate Santa, bring it to me!) While it seems like an obligation to go (and it is!), the payoff is in the prizes and the after party that inevitably happens with your closest co-workers, with many beers being drunk and a karaoke contest breaking out and everyone getting home as the sun comes up.
Looking back over the archives of my Cancun Christmas past, I recall one of my favourite company posadas which took place on a pirate cruise to Isla Mujeres (only in Cancun, right?) Handsome pirates, pretty wenches, buffet dinner and open bar, can't be beat! And then, this.....the traditional Christmas spanking by 50 women?
Disclosure: I am being compensated for my work in creating and managing content as a Contributor for the México Today Program. All stories, opinions and passion for all things México shared here are completely my own.