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A Mexican resident of Leipzig is throwing a typical party, a posada, on 16 December to benefit the victims of the Sept earthquakes that devastated Oaxaca. (Public domain photo)

A Mexican Christmas to help ‘quake victims

in Action/Party by

This past September, some 400 people died in the series of earthquakes and aftershocks that struck Mexico. Dozens of buildings collapsed, and the damage could be nearly a billion euros. It especially devastated the Mexican states of Oaxaca and Chiapas.

With this in mind, and certainly also missing Christmas back home, a Mexican resident of Leipzig decided to throw a party in December to benefit the earthquakes’ victims.

Thelma Torres is active in the local Mexican community, being admin of the Facebook group Mexicanos en Leipzig. She’s getting together with group members, friends and volunteers to host a Christmas posada in Leipzig on 16 December.

That’s precisely the day the annual posada celebrations traditionally start in Mexico, running for nine evenings until Christmas Eve. They symbolize the length of the journey Mary and Joseph undertook from Nazareth to Bethlehem, or the number of months of Mary’s gestation.

"It’s nearly impossible to go through December without seeing at least one nativity scene. St. Francis of Assisi,... is credited with staging the first [one ever] in 1223." (History of the Christmas crèche: http://www.slate.com/articles/life/holidays/2012/12/nativity_scene_history_why_people_put_up_cr_ches_for_christmas.html)
“It’s nearly impossible to go through December without seeing at least one nativity scene. St. Francis of Assisi… is credited with staging the first [one,] in 1223.” (History of the crèche)
Dating back to the 16th century, these Mexican community festivals celebrate the holy couple’s pilgrimage, and the shelter or literally inn (posada) they sought out and found in time for the birth of Baby Jesus. The organizer of the Leipzig event calls the posadas “the most highly anticipated parties throughout the year” in Mexico.

“This will be a Christmas posada of family coexistence for the benefit of the victims of the earthquakes last September in my country,” Thelma told me. “We want to send the proceeds to Oaxaca, Mexico, where many houses and schools were destroyed, fertile land was lost, etc. Unfortunately, the aid until today is not enough.”

The party’s Facebook page lists a number of family-friendly activities.

Some of them, besides keeping the kids busy and entertained, can give them skills to become little helpers in future parties. A piñata workshop will teach children “how to make a piñata and dress it up with colorful wrapping.” In a tortilla workshop, they “can have fun making tortillas with corn dough and can learn the art of putting together a good homemade taco.” And finally, in a dance workshop, besides “learning a Christmas choreography with children’s music in Spanish,” children will craft a “character that will accompany them in the final presentation.”

"A traditional Mexican shape for piñatas is a spherical shape with seven conical points symbolizing the seven deadly sins—greed, gluttony, sloth, pride, envy, wrath, and lust. Inside the piñata, however, were tempting sweets and treats, representing the pleasures of life. The person wielding the stick of virtue represents faith, which can defeat evil, and the treats represented the hope of reward." (History of the piñata: http://chnm.gmu.edu/cyh/primary-sources/411)
“A traditional Mexican shape for piñatas is… spherical… with seven conical points symbolizing the seven deadly sins. The person wielding the stick of virtue represents faith, which can defeat evil, and the treats [inside the piñata] the hope of reward.” (History of the piñata)
The reward will be a piñata with candy and fruit for the children to break. There will also “be a raffle for a very special piñata made by hand.” You guessed it, the piñata is the star of the party.

Parents can also have a nice time by trying traditional Mexican snacks and drinking punch. And perhaps it can be for people without children, too, who might want to feel a bit of a Mexican vibe on a Saturday afternoon in German winter.


Mexikanische Posada

Date: Saturday, 16 December 2017

Time: 11 am-5 pm

Place: Mütterzentrum e.V. Leipzig – Kita “Treffpunkt Linde” – Merseburger Str. 14, 04229 Leipzig

Mexican Christmas posada event flyer.

Donations: According to the organizer, “all proceeds from this event will be sent to the victims of the earthquakes last September in Oaxaca, Mexico.”

Registration: Those wanting to attend must write to organizer Thelma Torres at thelmatorresco@hotmail.com to reserve their spot.

An aspiring social scientist and former newspaper reporter, an avid eater, a pseudo-philosopher and poet, an occasion-propelled singer, a semi-professional socializer, a movie addict, a Brazilian-American nomad. In this space, she will share some of her experiences and (mis)adventures regarding various topics, but with special attention to travel, entertainment and lifestyle.

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